Pisonia aculeata (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Pisonia aculeata L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. 2: 1026 (1753).


Pisonia villosa Poir. (1804).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: alar (Madurese), cuhun-lamarang (South Bantam), rampari (Sumba)
  • Philippines: digkit, pakat-aso (Tagalog), puriket (Iloko)
  • Thailand: khat khao (peninsular), ma kang phee (northern), huu cha luang (south-eastern)
  • Vietnam: bì sơn nhọn, tuyến quả dằng.


Pantropical, from (sub)tropical America, the West and East coasts of Africa and Indian Ocean islands, to Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, South Chinese islands, and throughout South-East Asia. In Malesia: Peninsular Malaysia, central Sumatra, Java, Lesser Sunda Islands, northern Borneo, Sulawesi, the Philippines, New Guinea to northern Australia and New Caledonia.


Mainly the leaves of P. aculeata are used, fresh or in decoction, to treat skin problems, such as scabies and ulcers. In Mexico, the roots are used to treat cough.


  • A large, dioecious, climbing and overhanging shrub, up to 20 m tall, armed with solitary, axillary, recurved thorns, 0.5-1 cm long.
  • Leaves (sub)opposite, elliptical, 4-10 cm × 1.3-5 cm, base acute, apex obtuse, petiole 0.5-2.5 cm long.
  • Thyrse axillary, dense, 1-2.5 cm in diameter, short brown hairy.
  • Flowers unisexual, pedicel short, bracteoles 1-3, male flower funnel-shaped, 3 mm long, lobes 10, 5 large, alternating with 5 small ones, opposite 5 rows of black stalked glands outside, recurved, stamens 7-8, long exserted, ovary small, stigma trifid, female flower campanulate, urceolate, 2 mm long, lobes as male flower, androecium absent, stigma fimbriate, 1-1.5 mm exserted.
  • Anthocarp club-shaped, 15 mm × 2-2.5 mm, 5-ribbed, each with a biserial row of glandular appendages, growing out to soft, viscid prickles, 1.5 mm long.

P. aculeata occurs along coasts, in hedges, rain forest and open forest, sometimes forming impenetrable masses, from sea-level up to 500 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.407.


G.H. Schmelzer & N. Bunyapraphatsara