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A woody vine capable of growing to 15–20 m high where supporting trees are available. The leaves are alternate, palmately five-lobed like a spread hand (sometimes three or seven lobes), 10–18 cm long and wide. The base of each leaf has a flagellate-twining tendril 5–10 cm long, which twines around supporting vegetation to hold the plant up. The flower is complex, about 10 cm in diameter, with the five sepals and petals similar in appearance, whitish in colour, surmounted by a corona of blue or violet filaments, then five greenish-yellow stamens and three purple stigmas. The fruit is an oval orange-yellow berry 6 cm long by 4 cm in diameter, containing numerous seeds; it is eaten, and the seeds spread by mammals and birds. In tropical climates, it will flower all year round.