Alternanthera sessilis (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Alternanthera sessilis (L.) DC.

Protologue: Cat. pl. horti monsp.: 77 (1813).


Alternanthera triandra Lamk (1783), Alternanthera denticulata R.Br. (1810), Alternanthera nodiflora R.Br. (1810).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: kremek (Sundanese), bayem kremah (Javanese), daun tolod (Moluccas)
  • Malaysia: keremak, pudoh, kermak bukit
  • Philippines: bunga-bunga (Tagalog), bilanamanut (Magindanao), gogoat (Bontok), Cambodia: chë:ng bângko:ng (Kompong Thom)
  • Laos: khaix ped, phak ph'ê:w (Louang Prabang), nê: ti:d kho:x (Vientiane)
  • Thailand: phakpet khaao, phakpet thai
  • Vietnam: rau dệu (general).


Throughout the tropics and subtropics of America, Africa and Asia; throughout Malesia.


An infusion of the entire plant is used in Indonesia as a remedy against intestinal cramps, diarrhoea and dysentery, and externally as a cooling agent to treat fever. In Malaysia it is used internally against intestinal inflammation and fever, and externally to treat wounds. A. sessilis is used in local medicine in Taiwan, often in mixtures with other medicinal plants, to treat hepatitis, tight chest, bronchitis, asthma, and lung troubles, to stop bleeding and as a hair tonic. It is used locally in India against dysentery, as a cholagogue, abortifacient and febrifuge and to treat snake bites, inflamed wounds and boils, and in Thailand and Sri Lanka as galactagogue. It is eaten as a vegetable, e.g. in Vietnam and Sri Lanka.


A perennial, sometimes annual herb up to 1 m tall, erect, ascending or creeping, often widely branched, taproot robust, stems solid, sometimes floating in water and then stems fistulose in lower part; hairs smooth; leaves linear-lanceolate, oblong to ovate or obovate, 1-15 cm × 0.5-3 cm, glabrous or sparsely pilose, petiole 1-5 mm long; flowering heads sessile; tepals 1-veined or only 3-veined at the very base, shiny white or purplish, filaments united at base into a very short cup; fruit obreniform, corky, about 2 mm long. A. sessilis is a very common plant of constant or periodically humid, open localities in roadsides, gardens, ditches, swamps, rice fields and tea plantations, up to 1250 m altitude.

Selected sources

93, 97, 202, 288, 350, 580, 704, 783, 816, 860, 868, 1035, 1083, 1178, 1370, 1394, 1470.


R.H.M.J. Lemmens & S.F.A.J. Horsten