Actephila excelsa (PROSEA)

From PlantUse English
Jump to: navigation, search
Logo PROSEA.png
Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Actephila excelsa (Dalzell) Muell. Arg.

Family: Euphorbiaceae


Actephila bantamensis Miquel, A. dispersa (Elmer) Merrill, A. javanica Miquel.

Vernacular names

  • Philippines: lambonan (Tagbanua), toyokan (Cebu Bisaya), tungkaling (Subanun)
  • Vietnam: da gà, chè dại.


From India and Assam to Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, Thailand and throughout the Malesian region except for the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Moluccas.


In the eastern Himalayas the dried leaves are used to make a pleasant tasting tea, but the mucilaginous leaves have no special aroma and contain no alkaloids.


A monoecious, evergreen shrub or small tree up to 11 m tall; bole up to 18 cm in diameter. Leaves arranged spirally, crowded; stipules small; petiole 0.5-7 cm long; blade elliptical-ovate, 9-30 cm × 4-12.5 cm, entire, glabrous, apex acuminate. Flowers in axillary, very short racemes with a few female flowers at base and male ones above; sepals 5, imbricate; petals 5, shorter than the sepals; disk large; male flower on a pedicel up to 2 mm long, sepals about 2.5 mm long, stamens 5, free; female flower long pedicellate, sepals up to 7 mm long, ovary 3-locular with 2 ovules in each cell, styles short, basally connate. Fruit a woody capsule, 1.5 cm × 2.5 cm, seated on the slightly enlarged calyx. A. excelsa is generally reported from lowland forest, but is found up to 1000 m altitude in Java. In Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand it is often found on limestone, but elsewhere it has been reported from swamp margins, slopes, ridge forest and scrub forest. Three varieties are distinguished: var. excelsa with short-petioled, glossy leaves occurring from India to Burma (Myanmar); var. acuminata Airy Shaw with short-petioled, dull leaves occurring in Indo China, Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia; and var. javanica (Miquel) Pax & K. Hoffm. with long-petioled leaves occurring in the Malesian region. The latter variety is occasionally distinguished at the species level.

Selected sources

1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 15, 28, 38, 46, 75.


M.S.M. Sosef