Pararistolochia promissa (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
List of species

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Pararistolochia promissa (Mast.) Keay

Protologue: Kew Bull. 1952: 160 (1952).
Family: Aristolochiaceae


  • Aristolochia promissa Mast. (1879),
  • Aristolochia flagellata Stapf (1906),
  • Aristolochia congolana Hauman (1948),
  • Pararistolochia tenuicauda (S.Moore) Keay (1952),
  • Pararistolochia talbotii (S.Moore) Keay (1952).

Origin and geographic distribution

Pararistolochia promissa occurs from Côte d’Ivoire eastward to the Central African Republic and DR Congo.


In DR Congo the stems are made into snares and traps for small mammals.

Production and international trade

Pararistolochia promissa is only used locally.


Perennial, woody climber; stems up to 30 m long and often thin but up to 25 cm in diameter at the base, laterally strongly flattened to bilobed in cross-section, branched from the base, glabrous. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; petiole 2–5 cm long, slender; blade oblong-elliptical, obovate or broadly ovate, 8–15 cm × 4–9 cm, acute, obtuse or cuneate at the base, cuspidate or acuminate at the apex, membranous to leathery, glabrous. Inflorescence a helicoid cyme, in the axils of old or fallen leaves, mostly 2–3(–6) together on knobby outgrowths on old stems almost from the ground to the top, 2–4 cm long, bearing up to 10 aborted buds and apically 2–4 flowers. Flowers trumpet-shaped, smelling unpleasantly when open; perianth up to 12.5 cm long exclusive of the tails, greenish-white, glabrous, base globose, up to 2.5 cm × 1–2 cm, tube broadly funnel-shaped, up to 3 cm × 0.5–2 cm, lobes 3, triangular, unequal, with the lateral ones prominent and the median one reduced, variable in size, with filiform pendulous tails up to 60 cm long, inside light yellow, brown-spotted and with white hairs, outside dirty yellow; stamens 9–12, linear-oblong, scarcely reaching to the base of the column; ovary inferior, style-branches 9–12, oblong, obtuse, abruptly acuminate. Fruit a berry up to 20(–30) cm long, with 6 rounded ridges.

Pararistolochia comprises about 9 species in Africa and about 9 Australasia. It is closely related to Aristolochia and often considered a subgenus of the latter.


Pararistolochia promissa grows at 350–1500 m altitude in forest, sometimes in plantations.


Pararistolochia promissa is only collected from the wild.

Genetic resources

Pararistolochia promissa is widespread and locally common. There are no indications that it is in danger of genetic erosion.


Pararistolochia promissa is likely to remain of incidental use only.

Major references

  • Baker, J.G. & Wright, C.H., 1909–1913. Aristolochiaceae. In: Thiselton-Dyer, W.T. (Editor). Flora of tropical Africa. Volume 6(1). Lovell Reeve & Co., London, United Kingdom. pp. 134–143.
  • Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
  • Keay, R.W.J., 1952. Revision of the Flora of West Tropical Africa, 1. Kew Bulletin 7(2): 149–165.
  • Poncy, O., 1978. Le genre Pararistolochia, Aristolochiaceae d’Afrique tropicale. Adansonia sér. 2, 17: 465–494.
  • Wanke, S., González, F. & Neinhuis, C., 2006. Systematics of pipevines: combining morphological and fast-evolving molecular characters to investigate the relationships within subfamily Aristolochioideae (Aristolochiacea). International Journal of Plant Sciences 167(6): 1215–1227.

Other references

  • González, F., 1999. Inflorescence morphology and the systematics of Aristolochiaceae. Systematics and Geography of Plants 68(1–2): 159–172.
  • Hauman, L., 1948. Aristolochiaceae. In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., De Wildeman, E., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Lebrun, J., Louis, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 1. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 381–389.
  • Huber, H., 1985. Samenmerkmale und Gliederung der Aristolochiaceen. Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie 107: 277–320.
  • Huber, H., 1993. Aristolochiaceae. In: Kubitzki, K., Rohwer, J.G. & Bittrich, V. (Editors). The families and genera of vascular plants. Volume 2, Flowering plants- Dicotyledons. Magnoliid, Hamamelid and Caryophyllid families. Springer, Berlin, Germany. pp. 129–137.
  • Irvine, F.R., 1961. Woody plants of Ghana, with special reference to their uses. Oxford University Press, London, United Kingdom. 868 pp.
  • Jongkind, C.C.H., 1990. Novitates gabonenses: 2. A new species of Aristolochia and some critical observations on Aristolochia versus Pararistolochia. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 60(1–2): 147–150.
  • Keay, R.W.J., 1954. Aristolochiaceae. In: Keay, R.W.J. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 1, part 1. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 77–81.
  • Kelly, L.M. & González, F., 2003. Phylogenetic relationships in Aristolochiaceae. Systematic Botany 28(2): 236–249.
  • Ma, J.-S., 1992. A taxonomic revision of the genus Aristolochia subgenus Pararistolochia. Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica 30(6): 508–514.
  • Neinhuis, C., Wanke, S., Hilu, K.W., Müller, K. & Borsch, T., 2005. Phylogeny of Aristolochiaceae based on parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian analyses of trnL-trnF sequences. Plant Systematics and Evolution 250(1–2): 7–26.


  • L.P.A. Oyen, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Oyen, L.P.A., 2010. Pararistolochia promissa (Mast.) Keay. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <>.

Accessed 7 March 2020.