Lobelia chinensis (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Lobelia chinensis Lour.

Protologue: Fl. cochinch.: 514 (1790).


Lobelia radicans Thunb. (1794), Pratia radicans G. Don (1834).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: jukut mata keuyeup, ki tombe (Sundanese)
  • Thailand: phrachan khrueng seek (Bangkok), bua khrueng seek (central)
  • Vietnam: bán biên liên.


From India and Sri Lanka to China and Japan, southwards to Peninsular Malaysia and Java (Indonesia).


In Indo-China and China, the aerial parts are used internally as a diuretic, externally on skin infections, like boils and swellings, also caused by poisonous insects and animals. The root is considered depurative, antirheumatic and antisyphilitic. In Thailand, the whole plant is used in alcoholic macerates as a lung tonic, for tuberculosis, asthma and treatment of bloody vomiting. In China, a strong decoction is taken as a diuretic and cathartic; it can stimulate respiration, lower the blood pressure, stop bleeding and reduce swellings.


An annual, branched, creeping herb, stem 5-15 cm tall, rooting at the nodes; leaves alternate, lanceolate to ovate-oblong, 1.2-–3 cm × 0.2–-0.6 cm, base long decurrent, apex acute or rounded, margins subentire to shallowly toothed towards the apex; flowers solitary, axillary, 7-15 mm long, normally 1-2 on each stem, pedicel 0.6-3.5 cm long; calyx lobes narrowly triangular, up to 3 mm long, corolla 5-12 mm long, white to pale purple, outside glabrous, inside hairy, dorsal lobes connate with lateral ones for 4 mm, up to 8 mm long, ventral and lateral lobes equal in length, filaments 5-6 mm long, more than half-way free, 2 anterior ones hairy; capsule obconical, 4-6 mm long, glabrous, pedicel recurved; seed ellipsoid, 0.5 mm long, dark brown, smooth. L. chinensis occurs in moist, grassy localities, along water courses and on cultivated land, like rice fields, tea and cinchona plantations, mainly between 500-1600 m altitude.

Selected sources


  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1948-1976. The wealth of India: a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. 11 volumes. Publications and Information Directorate, New Delhi, India.795, 866, 867, 979, 1004.


G.H. Schmelzer