Cleome viscosa (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Cleome viscosa L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. 2: 672 (1753).


Cleome icosandra L. (1753), Polanisia viscosa (L.) DC. (1824).

Vernacular names

  • Tickweed (En)
  • Indonesia: ancang ancang (Javanese), bhubhuwan (Madurese), susawi utan (Moluccas)
  • Malaysia: mamang kebo, mamang laki, mamang utan
  • Philippines: apoi-apoian, silisian (Tagalog), hulaya (Panay Bisaya)
  • Thailand: phak som sian phee (northern), phak sian phee (central, peninsular)
  • Laos: sa phac son tien
  • Vietnam: màn màn vàng, sơn tiền.


Throughout the tropics of the Old World and Australia, and commonly introduced in the New World.


The sap of the leaves mixed with water or milk is applied to the eyes in Java. The whole herb is rubbed on the body against rheumatism. In Sumatra, the dried and powdered leaves and seeds are added to tobacco to enhance its narcotic properties. In Australia, the aerial parts are used for respiratory tract infections and infected wounds. In the USA it is a noxious weed.


  • An annual, erect, branched herb, up to 1 m tall, with yellowish, glandular hairs, viscid and stinking
  • Leaflets 3-5, central leaflet 1-3(-5.5) cm × (0.3-)0.5-1.5 cm, base cuneate, apex acute to obtuse, thinly herbaceous, petiole 0.5-6 cm long
  • Raceme short to elongated
  • Flowers largely actinomorphic, sepals oblong, (2.5-)6-7 mm long, petals oblong, (4-)7-12 mm long, thin, glabrous, yellow, stamens (8-)10-20(-30), gradually increasing towards the abaxial side, anthers 1.5-2 mm long, bluish
  • Capsule linear, erect, centripetal-veined, (1.5-)6-8(-10) cm long, beak 2.5-4(-7) mm long
  • Seeds 1.2 mm in diameter, cleft narrow, with strong cross-ribs and faint concentric ribs, red-brown.

C. viscosa is a weed, very tolerant and ruderal, and occurs on fallow land and fields, along roadsides, on rubbish heaps, often on sandy, but sometimes on calcareous soils, both under seasonal dry and ever-wet conditions, from sea-level up to 500 m altitude.

Selected sources

74, 134,

  • 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.


  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1948-1976. The wealth of India: a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. 11 volumes. Publications and Information Directorate, New Delhi, India.407
  • Holdsworth, D.K., 1977. Medicinal plants of Papua New Guinea. Technical Paper No 175. South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia. 123 pp., 557, 739, 786, 787, 788.


F.I. Windadri