Caesalpinia crista (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Caesalpinia crista L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. 1: 380 (1753) p.p.


Caesalpinia nuga (L.) W.T. Aiton (1811).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: kemrunggi, rembete (Javanese), mata hiyang (Sundanese)
  • Papua New Guinea: kait (Gunantuna, East New Britain)
  • Philippines: bakaig (Tagalog), binit (Bikol)
  • Thailand: thephee (peninsular)(for C. nuga ), sawaat (central), waat (peninsular) (for C. crista )
  • Vietnam: chiêng chiếng.


C. crista can be found in coastal areas from India and Sri Lanka, eastward to the Ryukyu Islands, throughout South-East Asia to Queensland and New Caledonia. In Malesia it is not found in East Sumatra and East Borneo.


In the Philippines, a decoction of crushed seeds is used as an emetic and credited with antidysenteric properties. In Papua New Guinea, the fruits are externally applied in the treatment of rash. In Indonesia, the roots are used in the treatment of kidney stones. In India, the root is considered a diuretic, a tonic and useful in the treatment of bladder stones.


A liana up to 15 m long, branchlets variably armed; leaves paripinnate, rachis 10-30 cm long, with 2-4(-5) pairs of pinnae, pinna 2.5-8(-12) cm long, stipules triangular, minute, caducous, leaflets opposite, 1-3(-5) pairs per pinna, base acute, margin curved, apex acute to obtuse; panicle axillary or terminal, 20-40 cm long; flowers bisexual, sepals 6-8 mm × 2-4 mm, petals 5-10 mm × 4-5 mm, clawed, ovary with 1-2(-3) ovules; pod stipitate, 4-7 cm × 2.5-3.5 cm, unarmed, 1(-2)-seeded, indehiscent; seed ovoid, black. C. crista is found on river banks, sandy beaches, in and behind the sandy parts of mangroves, on chalk and limestone, generally at low altitudes, rarely up to 350 m.

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.

215, 256, 407

  • Holdsworth, D.K., 1977. Medicinal plants of Papua New Guinea. Technical Paper No 175. South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia. 123 pp., 485, 585, 810, 1008, 1038.


B. Ibnu Utomo