Biophytum sensitivum (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC.

Protologue: Prodr. 1: 690 (1824).


Oxalis sensitiva L. (1753).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: daun kucingan (Sumatra), krambilan (Javanese), kurang-kurang (Moluccas)
  • Philippines: damong-bingkalat (Tagalog), damon-huya (Bisaya), mahihiin (Iloko)
  • Laos: dok han
  • Thailand: chi yop tontaan (northern), krathuep yop, khan rom
  • Vietnam: lá chue me, chua me lá me, ta lang.


Widely distributed in the Indo-Malesian tropics, common throughout Malesia, but not yet recorded for New Guinea.


The whole plant is used in Malesia and Thailand as an anti-inflammatory in the treatment of sore throat, abscesses, chronic wounds and fever.


An annual herb, up to 35 cm tall, stem simple, smooth; leaves 7-12(-14)-jugate, rachis 5-10(-16.5) cm long, sensitive to touch, plying downwards, terminal leaflets falcate-obovate, 8-18 mm × 3-10 mm, asymmetrical, midrib excentric, other leaflets elliptical, symmetrical, base truncate, glabrous; peduncle up to 14 cm long, up to 10-flowered, glandular hairy; pedicel 1.5-3.5 mm long, sepals ovate-lanceolate, 4-7 mm long, acute, strigose and glandular-hairy, in fruit 5-9-nerved, 1.5-2 times as long as the fruit, petals lanceolate, 5-7 mm × 1-2 mm, truncate, yellow, sometimes with purplish lines, tristylous, styles in the middle form 0.5-1 mm long, often clasping the anthers of the longer filaments and tearing them off; capsule 3-4 mm × 2 mm, apically puberulous and minutely glandular-hairy on the ribs; seeds 0-3 per cell, 1 mm × 0.8 mm, transversely tubercled and ridged. B. sensitivum occurs in shady localities, in waste land, along riverbanks and under humid thickets, up to 250 m altitude.

Selected sources

  • 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.

  • Chuakul, W., Saralamp, P., Paonil, W., Temsiririrkkul, R. & Clayton, T. (Editors), 1997. Medicinal plants in Thailand. Vol. II. Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. 248 pp.739, 786.


R.C.K. Chung