Bryonia

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Bryonia
P1000627 Bryonia dioica (Cucurbitaceae) Plant.JPG
red bryony (B. dioica)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Rosids
Order:Cucurbitales
Family:Cucurbitaceae
Subfamily:Cucurbitoideae
Tribe:Benincaseae
Subtribe:Benincasinae
Genus:Bryonia
L.
Diversity
12 species
 
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For the Royal Navy ships, see HMS Bryony.
Bryonia
P1000627 Bryonia dioica (Cucurbitaceae) Plant.JPG
red bryony (B. dioica)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Rosids
Order:Cucurbitales
Family:Cucurbitaceae
Subfamily:Cucurbitoideae
Tribe:Benincaseae
Subtribe:Benincasinae
Genus:Bryonia
L.
Diversity
12 species

Bryonia is a genus of flowering plant in the gourd family. Bryony /ˈbr.əni/ is its best-known common name. They are native to western Eurasia and adjacent regions, such as North Africa, the Canary Islands and South Asia.

Male flower of white bryony (B. alba)

Description and ecology[edit]

Bryonies are perennial, tendril-climbing, diclinous or dioecious herbs with palmately lobed leaves and flowers in axillary clusters. The fruit is a smooth, globular berry.

The only English species, B. dioica (white bryony), grows in hedgerows as far north as Yorkshire.

Bryonia is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), including the tortrix moth Phtheochroa rugosana (recorded on red bryony, B. dioica) and the Cabbage Moth (Mamestra brassicae).

Use by humans[edit]

Bryonies are occasionally grown in gardens, sometimes accidentally, sometimes deliberately so. Some species find use in herbal medicine. Generally however, these plants are poisonous, some highly so, and may be fatal if ingested.

Variants of the plants' name, such as Briony, Bryonie and Bryony, are used in some cultures as female given names. They were quite popular in the 18th century.

The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom named two ships HMS Bryony after the plant.

Species[edit]

The toxic berries of red bryony (B. dioica)

Twelve species are presently accepted by the USDA:[1] Ten of these are supported in a molecular-phylogenetic analysis:[2]

Formerly placed here[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ USDA (2009)
  2. ^ Volz and Renner (2009)
  3. ^ Renner et al. (2008)

References[edit]

External links[edit]