Tetracera sarmentosa (L.) Vahl

Tetracera sarmentosa (L.) Vahl




Delima sarmentosa L. Tetracera asiatica (Lour.) Hoogl.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Mempelas rimau
Indonesia Sengkerit akar (Sumatra)
Vietnam D[aa]y chi[eef]u, ch[awj]c ch[if]u

Geographical Distributions

From Sri Lanka, eastern India, Burma (Myanmar) to southern China, Indo-China, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.


It is a small shrub up to 3 m tall or a liana up to 12 m long, with rough branches.

The leaves are oblong with size (3-)5-11(-15) cm x (1.5-)2-5(-7.5) cm, its base is acute, apex acute to obtuse, margin entire to distinctly dentate, rough, its stalk is about 0.5-1(-1.5) cm long.

The inflorescence terminal and sized between 10-25 cm x 5-15 cm includes 30-150-flowers which are found in the basal part often with 1-4 leaves; its flower is about 1 cm in diametre. The sepals are 5 with the 2 outer ones size 2 mm x 1.5 mm and the 3 inner ones sized 4 mm x 3 mm and rough outside. There are 3 petals sized 3-4 mm x 2-3 mm and are white. The stamens are whitish yellow, carpels 1(-2) and hairless. There are between 10-12 immature seeds in the ovary.

The capsule is ovoid with size 6-10 mm x 4-6 mm, with a 2-5 mm long beak and is smooth. It is 1(-2)-seeded which are ovoid sized 4 mm x 3 mm while the aril is up to 5 mm long and fringed for half to two third of its length.

Ecology / Cultivation

T. sarmentosa is found in scrub along roadsides, hedges, thickets as well as primary forest, from sea-level up to 1500 m altitude. It flowers from March-November and fruits from May-February.

Line Drawing / Photograph



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