Herissantia crispa (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Herissantia crispa (L.) Brizicky

Family: Malvaceae


Abutilon crispum (L.) Medik., Sida crispa L.

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: cemplak, cemplok (Javanese).


Native of America but now a pantropical weed. In Malesia only found in Indonesia (Java, Madura, Kangean Islands, Lesser Sunda Islands, Sulawesi).


Good quality fibre can be obtained from the bark, but the branched habit forms a limitation to commercial exploitation.


A herb, 1-1.5 m tall; stem branching, covered with stellate and simple hairs. Leaves simple, alternate; stipules 2, one erect, the other deflexed, filiform, 3-8 mm long; petiole 0.5-7 cm long, accrescent in fruit to about 4 cm; blade ovate, 4.5-10 cm × 3-7.5 cm, base cordate, apex acuminate, 7-9-veined, stellate-hairy, tomentose especially beneath, with simple hairs on veins. Flowers axillary, solitary, 10-12 mm in diameter; pedicel 1.5-2.5 cm long, accrescent in fruit to about 4 cm; calyx 7-8 mm in diameter, 5-parted, segments ovate to long triangular, reflexed after flowering; corolla 10-12 mm in diameter, consisting of 5 broadly ovate petals 6-10 mm long, pale yellow to white; staminal column 2-3 mm long; styles 10-11. Fruit a globular schizocarp, indented at apex, about 15 mm in diameter; mericarps 10-15. Seed reniform, up to 1.7 mm in diameter. H. crispa is a sun-loving plant; in Indonesia it is restricted to periodically very dry regions. It occurs in waste places and along roadsides from sea-level up to 700 m altitude. The variability of the species in Indonesia is small and restricted to the density of the indumentum. The seeds (4.3% moisture) contain 12.5% oil and 18.4% protein. The main fatty acids of the seed oil are linoleic acid (61.2%), palmitic acid (15.7%) and oleic acid (12.2%). The seed oil also contains cyclopropenoid fatty acids such as malvalic acid (4.5%) and sterculic acid (1.3%), which are known to cause abnormal physiological reactions in animals. Therefore, human consumption of seeds or seed oil is not advisable.

Selected sources

6, 20, 57, 71, 141, 189.


M. Brink, P.C.M. Jansen & C.H. Bosch