Hiptage benghalensis (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Hiptage benghalensis (L.) Kurz

Protologue: Journ. As. Soc. Beng. 43, 2: 136 (1874).
Family: Malpighiaceae
Chromosome number: 2n= 42, 56, 58, 60


Hiptage madablota Gaertner (1791), Hiptage javanica Blume (1825).

Vernacular names

  • Hiptage (En). Liane de cerf (Fr)
  • Indonesia: jaranan, kakas (Javanese), areuy beurit (Sundanese)
  • Thailand: noraa (central), haen pik (north-eastern), kamlang chang phuek (northern)
  • Vietnam: tơ mành.

Origin and geographic distribution

H. benghalensis occurs in India, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, southern China, Taiwan, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands, Borneo, the Philippines (Palawan) and Sulawesi. It has been introduced in islands of the Pacific, where it is considered an aggressive invasive species.


In the Lesser Sunda Islands the bark of H. benghalensis is pounded and applied to fresh wounds. In Thailand the wood is used as an appetizer and credited with antiflatulent, carminative and aphrodisiac properties; it is said to relieve fatigue and to promote longevity. In Vietnamese folk medicine the wood is used to relieve fatigue and to treat nocturnal emission of sperm. In India the leaves are used in cutaneous diseases. The leaf juice is used to treat scabies, apparently for its insecticidal properties. The plant is further used to treat rheumatism and asthma. The bark is used as an aromatic bitter. H. benghalensis is widely cultivated throughout South-East Asia for its attractive, fragrant flowers.


The root bark of H. benghalensis contains relatively high concentrations of the aliphatic nitrogen-containing glycoside hiptagin, and additionally mangiferin. The triterpenes friedelin and epifriedelin were isolated from the stem bark.


A scandent shrub or liana up to 30 m long; young shoots densely fulvous-hairy, glabrescent, often lenticellate. Leaves opposite, simple, elliptical to oblong, (8-)10-15(-20) cm × (3-)4-6(-10) cm, base acute to rounded, mostly with 2 glands, apex usually acuminate, margin entire, often with glandular dots below; petiole 7-10 mm long; stipules minute and gland-like. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary raceme or panicle, (4-)10-20(-35) cm long, short-hairy, bracteolate. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, 5-merous, 1-2.5 cm in diameter, very fragrant; calyx deeply incised, hairy outside, persistent, with a convex, elliptical to linear gland decurrent on the pedicel; petals free, orbicular to elliptical, (3-)6-12 mm × (2-)5-10 mm, variably clawed, inside glabrous, outside hairy, pink to whitish, partly yellow; stamens 10, unequal, 1 much longer than others; ovary superior, 3-lobed, style long, coiled. Fruit a samara with a large middle wing (3-)5-6(-7) cm × 1(-2) cm, and 2 smaller lateral wings 2-3 cm × 0.5-1(-1.5) cm, sometimes with dorsal crest.

H. bengalensis can be found flowering throughout the year, but flowering is often influenced by seasonality of the climate.

Hiptage comprises 20-30 species, and occurs from India and Sri Lanka to China and Taiwan and throughout South-East Asia eastward to Sulawesi and Timor. Additionally, 1 species is found in Fiji. H. benghalensis is very variable, and numerous taxa have been distinguished. However, all these forms are connected by intermediates.


H. benghalensis occurs under both humid and periodically dry conditions, in open forest, secondary forest, clearings and forest margins, on a wide range of soils, from sea-level up to 1000(-2000) m altitude.

Management H. benghalensis is easily propagated by seed or by layering.

Genetic resources

H. benghalensis is widespread, and apparently well adapted to disturbed habitats. It may naturalize easily after introduction and become an undesirable invasive species. It is not threatened by genetic erosion.


Research on the pharmacological properties of H. benghalensis is needed to support its traditional medicinal use.


121, 173, 247, 287, 334, 731.

Other selected sources

62, 249, 331, 621.

Main genus page


D.S. Alonzo