Acalypha siamensis (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Acalypha siamensis Oliv. ex Gage

Protologue: Rec. Bot. Surv. India 9: 238 (1922).
Family: Euphorbiaceae


  • Acalypha evrardii Gagnep. (1923),
  • Acalypha sphenophylla Pax & K. Hoffm. (1924).

Vernacular names

  • Wild tea (En)
  • Indonesia: pokok teh (Sumatra), teh-tehan (Javanese)
  • Malaysia: teh hutan, teh kampung, tumput
  • Cambodia: taè préi
  • Thailand: cha-khoi (northern), cha-ruesei (central), phakduk (south-western)
  • Vietnam:trà cọc rào, tai tượng xiêm, chè mãn hảo, trà rừng, trà hàng rào.


Native in Peninsular Malaysia, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and currently cultivated in Thailand, peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia.


In Indo-China an infusion of the leaves and flowers is taken as a diuretic. A hot infusion of dried leaves is drunk as a substitute for tea and considered beneficial for intestinal complaints by the Thais and Malays. The leaves are considered a remedy for worms, fever, bowel complaints and kidney diseases, they are an emetic and expectorant, and said to have antipyretic properties. A poultice of the leaves is applied as a febrifuge. The plant is often cultivated as a hedge plant.


  • A shrub or small scrambling tree to 4 m tall.
  • Leaves rhombic, margin serrate, 2-10 cm × 1-5 cm, glabrous, coriaceous, narrowed into a blunt base, with characteristic serrate blunt tips and 5 slender vein pairs with 1 pair from the leaf base; petiole less than 1 cm long.
  • Inflorescence an axillary, slender, puberulous raceme, about 5 cm long, upper part male, with 2 or 3 female flowers at the base.
  • Male flowers minute, in small tufts; sepals ovate, acute, ciliate; stamens about 10, filaments hairy, scale-like, lanceolate acuminate; female flowers enclosed in a large herbaceous bract.
  • Fruit a capsule, 2.5 mm long, covered with long protuberances.

A. siamensis is locally common in dry, evergreen or mixed forest or scrub vegetation, up to about 400 m altitude; often on sandy soils, sometimes on limestone. It can be propagated by seed or stem cuttings. The potential use of A. siamensis as a raw material in the herbal and pharmaceutical industry is worth exploring.

Selected sources

  • [31] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1972. The Euphorbiaceae of Siam. Kew Bulletin 26: 191—363.
  • [135] Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Revised reprint. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1 (A—H) pp. 1—1240, Vol. 2 (I—Z) pp. 1241—2444.
  • [331] Gagnepain, F. (Editor), 1907—1950. Flore générale de l'Indo-Chine [General flora of Indo-China]. 7 volumes + suppl. Masson & Cie, Paris, France.
  • [786] Perry, L.M., 1980. Medicinal plants of East and Southeast Asia. Attributed properties and uses. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States & London, United Kingdom. 620 pp.
  • [788] Pételot, A., 1952—1954. Les plantes médicinales du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam [The medicinal plants of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam]. 4 volumes. Centre National de Recherches Scientifiques et Techniques, Saigon, Vietnam.
  • [841] Ridley, H.N., 1922—1925. The flora of the Malay Peninsula. 5 volumes. Government of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States. L. Reeve & Co, London, United Kingdom.
  • [59] Smitinand, T., 1980. Thai plant names. Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand. 379 pp.
  • [69] Uji, T., 1987. Acalypha siamensis in Java (in Indonesian). Floribunda 1(1): 3—4.
  • [75] Whitmore, T.C. & Ng, F.S.P. (Editors), 1972—1989. Tree flora of Malaya. A manual for foresters. 4 volumes. Malayan Forest Records No 26. Longman Malaysia Sdn. Berhad, Kuala Lumpur & Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

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