Botanical name

Cissus quadrangularis

Other names

Veld vine; devil's backbone; Cissus tetragona or C. succulenta; vitis quadrangularis


Vitaceae, the grape family


Rambling succulent climber reaching several meters of four-angled, rambling stems

Description of stem

Sturdy green stems up to more 3 cm in diameter, narrowing at the end of each section, supported by tendrils, leaves (on young sections only) and flowers appear at the section joints, or nodes

Description of leaves

Short-lived broad and fleshy lobed green leaves towards the ends of some stems

Description of flowers

Small greenish or cream flowers in spring

Description of seed/fruit


Description of roots




Propagation and cultivation

Grows easily from small cuttings


Drought tolerant; not very frost resistant


Medicinally for healing bone ailments, including osteoporosis, obesity, stomach ulcers and in cancer treatment; also used in bodybuilding

Ecological rarity


Pests and diseases



The name, asthisamharaka (that which prevents the destruction of bones) has been given to this plant in old India for one of its medicinal uses


Dry woodland areas


Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, but widespread inland in Southern Africa


South Africa, Southern Africa, probably widely throughout Africa, e.g. Sudan and from Arabia to India