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a genus of shrubs of the family Asclepiadaceae. (The genus is sometimes assigned to the family Periplocaceae.) The stems are twining, and the leaves are opposite and entire. The flowers are five-parted. The fruits are follicles and have numerous flat seeds. There are ten to 15 species of Periploca, distributed in the Mediterranean region, in tropical Africa, and in temperate and subtropical regions of Asia. One species, the silk vine P. graeca, grows in the USSR, in the Caucasus. The silk vine, a liana measuring up to 12 m long, has elliptic or oval leaves. The large, greenish brown flowers measure 3 cm across and have a strong odor. They are in cymose inflorescences at the ends of branches.
The silk vine is cultivated as an ornamental in the southern portion of Middle Asia and in Moldavia. The bark contains alkaloids and the cardiac glycoside periplocin, which is no longer widely used in medicine owing to the discovery of more effective preparations. In the Far East the species P. sepium is cultivated. The milky sap of some species contains caoutchouc.