Inflorescences mostly elongate, (2–)6–14–flowered, 6–15 cm. long, the flowers mostly well spaced; bracts conspicuous and persistent, ovate, elliptic or round, 0.7–3.5 cm. long, 0.7–3 cm. wide, acute to quite rounded at apex, sometimes distinctly mucronate; pedicels 1–2 cm. long.
Seeds pale, flat, triangular, 1–1.3 cm. long, 0.9–1 cm. wide, broadly winged, finely rugulose on one face, with winged and grooved broad raphe on the other.
Leaves ovate to ovate-triangular, 2.5–20 cm. long, 1.3–14.5 cm. wide, obtuse to acute at the apex, ± cordate at the base, the undersurface of the mature leaves with a characteristic very fine raised reticulation of veins, either glabrous or with very dense microhairs; petioles 1.5–5.5 cm. long.
Perennial unpleasantly smelling climber, sometimes subshrubby and woody, 1–3(–10) m. long, with green often glaucous stems sometimes tinged purple at the nodes, glabrous, grooved when dry.
Fruit at length blue or blue-black, oblong-obpyriform, 2.5–5(–6) cm. long, 1–3 cm. wide, rounded at apex and attenuate at base into ± 2–3(–5) cm. long stipe.
Perianth with basal oblong-ovoid to globose swollen part green, 5–8 mm. long; tube greenish, slender, 1–1.8 cm. long, inside often yellowish; limb blackish purple or chocolate but greenish or white at base, very variable, elliptic, narrowly ovate-elliptic to oblong or even ± round or oblong-panduriform, 1.5–3.2(–3.5) cm. long, 0.5–2 cm. wide, mostly hairy inside at base.
Perianth glabrous: constricted part below the utricle 0.5–5 mm long; inflated part (utricle) 2–8 mm in diameter, oblong-ellipsoid to subglobose; tube 2.5–20 ? 0.75–2.5 mm, straight, cylindrical, dilated at apex, greyish to purplish-green; limb 8–40 ? 3–20 mm, subrotund, oblong-elliptic, elliptic, obovate or panduriform, hairy towards the base, dark purple to purplish-black or brown, sometimes shading to creamy-white at the base.
Flowers, including pedicels and ovary, 0.6–3(4) cm long, glabrous or pubescent, ovary glabrous.
Fruit a capsule, 2–5 ? 1–3 cm, oblong-cylindrical to obpyriform, 6-ribbed, apex rounded, base attenuate into a stipe 1–4 cm long; when ripe the pendulous capsule and stipe split longitudinally into 6 segments which remain joined to the pedicel by the thread-like elements of the stipe, the segments separating widely about the middle while remaining joined at the capsule apex, the whole resembling an inverted “parachute”.
Gynostemium 2–3.5 mm tall, anthers 6.
Stems to 3(11) m long, sometimes very slender, sulcate (in dried state), pubescent to glabrous, sometimes tinged purplish at the nodes.
Creeping or climbing (twining) perennial herb with annual stems from a woody rootstock, pale green to glaucous.
Inflorescences axillary, racemose, 2–30(40) cm long, usually elongate, 2–9(15)-flowered; rhachis pubescent to glabrous; bracts conspicuous, persistent, 0.3–4 ? 0.2–3 cm, ovate to rotund, rounded to acute and sometimes mucronate at the apex, rounded to cordate and ± amplexicaul at the base, usually glabrous, less often pubescent to minutely puberulous.
Leaves 2–20 ? 1.5–15 cm, ovate to ovate-oblong or triangular, rounded to obtuse or acute and ± mucronulate at the apex, cordate or cordate-auriculate with a deep sinus at the base, or leaves 3-lobed with basal lobes strongly patent; terminal lobe much larger than the lateral lobes, 1.5–7(10) ? 0.6–3(4) cm, lanceolate to ± ovate; lateral lobes 0.5–2(3) cm in diameter, rotund; lamina glabrous or somewhat puberulous on both surfaces particularly on the veins and around the margins, with 3–7 principal veins from base, the veins and reticulation prominent on the lower surface; petioles 3–40 mm long, pubescent to glabrous; pseudostipules leaf-like, 5–20 ? 2.5–14 mm, rotund to ovate or oblong, rounded to subacute sometimes mucronate at the apex, cordate at the base, glabrous or minutely puberulous mainly on veins and margins.