Cyphostemma cirrhossum

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Botanical Name
Cyphostemma cirrhossum
Vitaceae -

The grape family.

sy-foh-STEM-uh sir-ROH-sum
Common Name(s)
English: Wild grape
Afrikaans: Droog-my-keel
Afrikaans: Wildedruif; Wildedruiwe
IsiXhosa: intoyomntwana
Plant Group
  • Climber / Creeper Climber: a plant that climbs using tendrils or if given support. Creeper: a plant running along the ground, often rooting as it goes.
  • Succulent A plant having fleshy stems or leaves often adapted to dry conditions.
Plant Size
  • Medium
    Tree10m to 16m
    Shrub1m to 2m
    Perennial/ground cover40cm to 60cm
    Bulb40cm to 60cm
    Succulent40cm to 60cm
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Attractive fruits, berries or seeds Brightly coloured fruits or berries increase and extend the visual impact of the plant and are especially attractive to birds and other small wildlife.
  • Deciduous Plants which completely lose their foliage for part of the year.
  • Drought Tolerance: High The plant is well adapted to arid conditions; it can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Frost: Half-hardy The plant is able to survive low temperatures and some frost but requires protection against severe frost.
  • Roots Non-invasive Safe to plant near pools, paving, walls or buildings.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

Cyphostemma cirrhossum is a robust climber growing from a caudex (a thickened base of a stem from which new leaves and flowering stems arise) which can grow to 30 cm in diameter, with the vines up to five meters long. This creeper has almost hairless, succulent stems and yellowish-green leaves. The fleshy leaves, which fall off in winter, are quite large, shiny and toothed. The thick, fleshy stem and leaves act as water reservoirs in times of drought. The pale, papery bark helps reflect the sun's rays and keep the plant cool.  It climbs through the surrounding bush by means of tendrils. The flowers are small but the large bunches of oval-shaped fruits make a striking show as they redden towards the end of summer.

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small, waxy, with 4 pointed lobes

  • Summer Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • greenish-yellow
Growth Rate
  • Slow Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Accent or Focal Point A plant used to attract the attention because of its colour or form.
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Attracts Birds This plant will attract birds.
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Pot Plant A plant that needs a protected environment on a patio or indoors.
  • Rock Garden An area constructed of larger rocks, arranged naturally, to emphasise the use of stones as a main element. Generally plants used do not need a lot of care.
  • Suitable for bonsai A shrub or tree that lends itself to being dwarfed.
  • Wild Garden An indigenous garden planted for the benefit of wildlife and birds. Provides food, water, a variety of mini-biomes and no poisonous chemicals are used.
Distribution and Habitat

in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal


Planting Suggestions

Cyphostemma cirrhossum needs a very well drained loamy or sandy soil with some water and plenty of sun. Add river sand and compost to improve drainage in heavy soils and add  a little bone meal to the mix before planting. These plants can survive with very little water and will rot and die if over watered. In very wet areas or where frosts are severe, it is wise to  keep Cyphostemma cirrhossum in large containers where they can be moved to a sheltered place when necessary. This is a summer growing plant and  must be kept dry during the colder winter months. Use organic fertilisers or liquids and completely avoid chemical fertilizers.

Photographs of Cyphostemma cirrhossum in the veld and Cyphostemma cirrhossum in flower - courtesy of Kwandwe Private Game Reserve.

Medicinal Uses

No specific data found for this plant. Members of the family Vitaceae, namely Cissus and Cyphostemma, are reportedly used throughout Africa to relieve pain and to heal wounds and fractures.

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I have what I think is a C. juttae and would very much like to add a C. cirrhossum to my collection of "oddballs"! Any idea where I can obtain one?
Thank you,

Hi Robin

The only place I have come across these plants for sale is on ebay. Seeds are sold on biborbuy.

You could also try:

It is sad to realise that 'oddball' succulents from South Africa are far more easily available overseas than they are in South Africa.

Hope you find what you are looking for. Please let me know if you manage to get one - I have so many requests for unusual succulents.

Kind regards

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