Planch. ex Walp.
Recent molecular and biochemical evidence (see the AP-Website) suggests the carnivorous taxa in the order Caryophyllales (the families Droseraceae and Nepenthaceae and the species Drosophyllum lusitanicum and Triphyophyllum peltatum) all belong to the same clade. This family Ancistrocladaceae would belong to this same clade, although the plants in the family are not carnivorous.
A close relationship between this family and the family Dioncophyllaceae (containing the carnivorous species T. peltatum) is supported by similar pollen and petiole structure. The Cronquist system, 1981, placed the family in the order Violales (together with Dioncophyllaceae). The Takhtajan system placed the family in its own order Ancistrocladales.
The only genus in the family Ancistrocladaceae is Ancistrocladus, a little-known genus of about 20 species. These are palaeotropical, climbing, twining plants, found in lowland to submontane, wet to seasonal evergreen or swamp forests. The sparingly branched, sympodial stem is complex and can exceed 10 cm in diameter. It is along one side attached to the tree with grapnels (short, hooked lateral thorns, formed from modified stem apices), opposite to the leaves. Their leaves are borne in dense, evergreen rosettes. They are entire, have short petioles and lack stipules. They have a single wax-secreting trichome in the epidermal pits and glands on the abaxial surface. The flowers are small with a basally connate corolla, that are imbricate or rolled up lengthwise. The fruit is a nut with often wing-like accrescent sepals.
Scientific interest in this genus has grown considerably because the canopy liana Ancistrocladus korupensis is considered a potential anti-AIDS source by the National Cancer Institute because of its highly effective mode of action against HIV. This plant was discovered in Cameroon and subsequently recognized as a species new to science. Its ingredient michellamine B, an acetogenic napthyl isoquinoline alkaloid, contained in mature leaves, is the active principle. Also, korupensamine E is a new antimalarial drug extracted from the same plant.
Ancistrocline, an alkaloid derived from A. tectorius, is used against dysentery.
Many other alkaloids are still being found in the other species.
Species accepted as of July 2014: