Araujia sericifera Brot.

Cruel Plant

Trans. Linn. Soc. London 12: 62, t. 4, 5 (1817), as A. sericofera APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Climber with stems to 5 m long; stems finely ribbed, white-pubescent when young, less so with age. Leaves ovate-oblong or subdeltoid, 3–11 cm long, 1.5–6 cm wide, apex acute to acuminate, mucronate, base truncate to shallowly cordate, margins inrolled, upper surface green with scattered appressed hairs, lower surface glaucous and minutely pubescent, midvein with 1–5 small glands at base of leaf; petiole 1–4 cm long. Inflorescences usually 2–5-flowered; peduncles mostly 5–15 mm long. Flowers on pedicels 5–15 mm long; sepals cordate, 8–13 mm long, free almost to base, glaucous; corolla-lobes ovate, c. 10 mm long, slightly shorter than tube, white, cream or pale pink. Follicles broad-ovoid, 6–10 cm long, 5–7 cm wide, ribbed, pale glaucous-green, soft and fleshy at first, becoming leathery with age; seeds 5–8 mm long, c. 5 mm wide, coma hairs c. 3 cm long. Flowers summer–autumn.

*EGL, *GipP, *HSF, *OtP, *VRiv, *VVP. Also naturalised WA, SA, Qld, NSW. Native to Brazil. A common weed of inner urban gardens in Melbourne. Naturalised in a few sites around Melbourne and at Shepparton.

The common name, Cruel Plant, refers to the syndrome by which butterflies or moths may be caught by their long probosci while seeking nectar, usually to be released later with the pollinium clipped onto the proboscis.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Asclepiadaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-05-02
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Gentianales
family Apocynaceae
genus Araujia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Araujia sericifera in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Araujia sericifera in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory