Cissus quadrangularis or devil's backbone was known in ancient Indian medicine for the treatment of bone ailments and the setting of broken bones. Some modern research indicates potential in the treatment of obesity as well.
While at least one other plant has also been given the name of devil's backbone and the name has been used variously elsewhere, the name is ironical in the case of a plant that is really quite useful and positive to people. Maybe the name is associated with the poorly understood nature of the medical benefit when first discovered: a cure so miraculous must have a dark source!
Could the natural distribution areas of this plant in Africa and Asia have been connected through geographic migration corridors in the distant past?
Note the purplish colour of the stem in this picture compared to the green stems often seen, shown in the other photos of this Album.
The rectangular stems ramble through other plants and grow to a size that presents a heavy weight to carry to such hosts (www.mrsupplement.com.au).