Chondrodendron tomentosum

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Chondrodendron tomentosum
R. Bentley & H. Trimen, Medicinal Plants Wellcome L0019166.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Menispermaceae
Genus: Chondrodendron
C. tomentosum
Binomial name
Chondrodendron tomentosum

Chondrodendron tomentosum is one of six accepted species [1] in the small genus Chondrodendron, belonging to the Moonseed family Menispermaceae.[2] It is a large tropical liana native to Central and South America [3] contains highly toxic alkaloids and is one of the sources of the arrow poison curare - specifically 'tube curare', from the name of which is derived the name of the medicinally valuable alkaloid tubocurarine.[4]

Derivation of scientific name[edit]

The generic name is a compound of Greek χόνδρος ( chondros ) 'cartilage' / 'lump' / 'grain' and δένδρον ( dendron ) 'tree' - hence 'lumpy / gristly tree', while the specific name consists of the Latin adjectival form tomentosum 'covered in matted hairs'. The binomial in its entirety thus conveys the image of a rather large coarse plant.[5]


Chondrodendron tomentosum is a woody climbing plant with stems that can reach 10cm in thickness at the base and which can climb up to 30 metres into the rainforest canopy. The large, glossy, cordate leaves are densely clothed beneath with a silky white pubescence - whence the common name 'Velvet Leaf'.[6]


  1. ^ The Plant List : 'Chondrodendron' Retrieved 22.01 on 6/11/18
  2. ^ "Chondrodendron tomentosum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  3. ^ Thomas B. Croat, Flora of Barro Colorado Island, p. 393
  4. ^ Bernard, C. (1856). "Analyse physiologique des propriétés des actions de curare et de la nicotine sur les systèmes musculaires et nerveux au moyen du curare". Compt. Rend. 43: 305–319.
  5. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2012). CRC World dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Vol.II C-D pps. 235-6. CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group.
  6. ^ Retrieved 23.20 on 8/11/18