Abrus fruticulosus (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Abrus fruticulosus Wight & Arn.

Protologue: Prod. Fl. Penins. Ind. Or. 1: 236 (1834).


Abrus melanospermus Hassk. (1844), Abrus pulchellus Wallich ex Thwaites (1859).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: saga areuy, areuy si hayam (Sundanese), daun sambang (Javanese)
  • Malaysia: saga negri, akar kachang inai (Peninsular)
  • Thailand: ma klam phueak (Chiang Mai), kho kiu (Chanthaburi), ma khaam yaan (Trang)
  • Vietnam: kê cốt thảo.


Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, China, Thailand and Malesia (with certainty in Peninsular Malaysia, Java, Borneo, the Philippines, Sulawesi and New Guinea).


The roots are used to treat digestive disorders. The leaves are employed to sweeten traditional medicines used in the central regions of Thailand. The stems have been used to tie together materials in harbour works.


A prostrate subshrub or woody climber up to 6 m long; leaves with (10-)12-34 oblong, obovate-oblong or ovate leaflets, truncate to broadly rounded and mucronulate at apex; inflorescence comparatively slender, usually straight, flowers in clusters on cushion-like reduced branchlets; fruit oblong to linear-oblong, compressed, 4-12-seeded; seeds usually strongly compressed, greyish-brown to reddish-brown, sometimes speckled. A. fruticulosus is extremely polymorphic and often subdivided into several separate species and subspecies. It occurs in roadsides, along streams, in thickets and edges of lowland rain forest up to 1000 m altitude.

Selected sources

202, 262, 451, 580, 1519, 1520.


R.H.M.J. Lemmens & F.J. Breteler