Articles

Pogostemon auricularius (L.) Hassk.

Pogostemon auricularius (L.) Hassk.

Family

Labiatae

Synonyms

Dysophylla auricularia (L.) Blume

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Kekucing.
Indonesia Ke kucing (Aceh), ketumpang (Javanese), kambing kambing (Kalimantan).
Philippines Buntot pusa (Tagalog).
Thailand Saapraeng saap-kaa (Peninsular).
Vietnam T[us] h[ut]ng h[it]nh tai, c[or] c[ot].

Geographical Distributions

P. auricularius is distributed from India throughout Southeast Asia and southern China but is not recorded from the Lesser Sunda Islands or Australia.

Description

It is an erect or procumbent, strong smelling annual herb and can reach 30-80 cm tall. The stem is simple or laxly branched, weak and bluntly 4-angular, with pinkish spreading hairs.

Leaves are decussate, elliptical to ovate, 4-6 cm x 2-3 cm, its base is wedge-shaped while the apex is acute. The leaf margin is irregularly serrate, except near the base. The blade is membranaceous, hairy and glandular on both surfaces supported with 2-10 mm long, hairy stalk. There are no stipules.

Inflorescence is crowded in a whorl, forming a dense terminal spike, 4-8 cm long. The long ciliated bracts are narrowly elliptical. The 5-toothed sepal is nearly bell-shaped, gland dotted outside, 1.2-1.5 mm long. The teeth are nearly equal, triangular and ciliate. Sepal in the fruit is urn shaped, 2.5-3.5 mm long and the teeth often incurved over the little nut. The lavender, pale pink or white petal is 2-3.5 mm long, slender tube, exserted with 4 lobes that are equal, obtuse and hairy. The 4 lilac coloured stamens are nearly equal with 3.5-4 mm long filaments, slender, upper half villous, The style is 5 mm long, bifid with 0.3 mm long disk.

Fruit consisting of 4 dry 1-seeded little nuts in the form of schizocarp enclosed in the persistent sepal. The little nuts are ellipsoid size 0.6 mm x 0.4 mm, finely reticulate which is brown.

Seedling is epigeal germination, has 2 mm long hypocotyls and glandular. The cotyledons are triangular, 2 mm long and obtuse apex. The epicotyls are hairy and greenish to purplish. The first two leaves which are 3.5 mm long are egg-shaped while the margin are crenate, nerves prominent, hairy and glandular underneath.

Ecology / Cultivation

P. auricularius grows on sunny, constantly or periodically humid localities, borders of ditches, dams and upland rice fields, grassy wasteland and thickets. It is locally often common, from the lowland to 2000 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph

BOT00058

References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2). 1998, Unesco.