Trichodesma zeylanicum (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Trichodesma zeylanicum (Burm.f.) R.Br.

Protologue: Prodr.: 496 (1810).


Borago zeylanica Burm.f. (1768), Trichodesma sericeum Lindley (1848).

Vernacular names

  • Philippines: dilang-usa, mabulo, sigang-dagat (Tagalog)
  • Vietnam: mao ty tích lan.


Eastern and north-eastern Africa, islands of the Indian Ocean, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands, the Philippines (Luzon), New Guinea and Australia.


In the Philippines the flowers are used as a sudorific and pectoral, as a substitute for Borago officinalis . In India the leaves are credited with emollient, demulcent and diuretic properties, and are used as a poultice. In eastern Africa, roots are used to treat snakebites, and a root decoction is taken to treat tuberculosis.


An annual or short-lived perennial herb up to 175 cm tall, much-branched; leaves oblong-lanceolate to narrowly linear-lanceolate, lower leaves 6-12(-16) cm × (0.2-)1-3(-5.5) cm, shortly petioled or tapering towards the base, upper leaves 3-6 cm × 0.2-1.5 cm, base narrow; flowers with calyx (1.2-)1.5-1.8 cm long, accrescent to 2 cm in fruit, cleft to the base into long acute lobes, truncate at base, corolla funnel-shaped, bluish with 5 red dots, or violet, pink, or white, tube c. 8 mm long, limb 1.5-2(-2.5) cm in diameter; pyrenes ovoid, c. 5 mm × 2 mm, smooth, shining, brown. T. zeylanicum is found as a weed in fields, thickets, waste land, and roadsides at low elevations. Two varieties are distinguished; var. sericeum (Lindl.) Benth., with narrow sericeous leaves, is confined in Malesia to the Lesser Sunda Islands.

Selected sources

62, 181, 247, 331, 367, 499, 731, 760.

Main genus page


N.O. Aguilar