Bryonia cretica subsp. dioica is a tall climber, using its coiled tendrils to wind through hedgerows and trees. The plant is toxic in high doses.
The name Bryonia comes from the Greek word ‘bryo’ meaning to sprout, as it does each year from its tuber, to a length of 4 m. Dioica comes from ‘dioecious’ meaning that male and female flowers are on separate plants.
Small white-greenish flowers with green striped petals. Male flowers up to 17 on long stalked racemes, female flowers up to 7 in corymbs.
Palmate leaf has lobes radiating from a base point. Five lobes radiating from base point.
Drupe: outer fleshy part surrounds a pit with a seed inside. Red when ripe, 6-10mm long.
Tuber: was used internally to treat bronchial complaints, asthma and arthritis; externally it was rubbed into the skin to increase the blood flow to areas of muscular and joint pain.