Tetracera indica (Houtt. Ex Christm. & Panz.) Merr.

Tetracera indica (Houtt. Ex Christm. & Panz.) Merr.




Assa indica Houtt. ex Christm. & Panz., Tetracera assa DC., T. dichotoma Blume.

Vernacular Names

Indonesia akar mempelas (Malay), areuy ki asahan (Sundanese), bo (Javanese).
Thailand yaan pot (peninsular), thao orakhon (central), rotsukhon daeng (Bangkok).
Vietnam ch[awj]c ch[if]u [aas]n.

Geographical Distributions

Tetracera indica is distributed from Burma (Myanmar) southward to Thailand, Indo-China, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Bangka, Java and Madura.


T. indica is a small shrub up to measure2 m tall, or a liana up to measure5 m long.

The leaves are elliptical to oblong or obovate in shape, with a size of measure  (3.5-)6-10(-20) cm x (1.5-)3-5(-9) cm, acute base, obtuse to acute apex, more or less dentate to entire margin, slightly glossy above, not scabrid and with measure about (4-)6-10(-15) mm long petiole.

The inflorescence is terminal or on short lateral few-leaved branches which are up to measure about 8 cm x 6 cm and with (2-)4-7(-12)-flowered. The flowers are measure 2.5-3 cm in diametre, with 4 sepals which are with a size of measure about 8-10 mm x 7-9 mm and hairless while the petals are (3-)4(-5), with a size of measure 12-15 mm x 6-8 mm, reddish white in colour, red in colour of stamens, white at the base, with 3-4 carpels and with a few rigid hairs on the back.

The capsule is globular in shape, with a size of measure about 1 cm in diametre, with a measuring 2-6 mm long beak and (1-)2(-7)-seeded.

The seed is an ovoid in shape, with a size of measure about 3-4 mm x 2-3 mm, with a measure about 1 cm long aril, fimbriate to its base and bright red in colour.

Ecology / Cultivation

T. indica is found in open places in general ranging from open forest, bushland to recently abandoned fields, from sea-level up to 600 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph



    1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12 (2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2.