Mollugo pentaphylla L.

Mollugo pentaphylla L.




Mollugo stricta L., Mollugo sumatrana Gand.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Tapak burong, rumput belangkas, bunga karang
English Carpet weed, African chickweed
Indonesia Jampang kulut, jukut taridi(Sundanese), galingsa (Javanese)
Philippines Malagoso (Tagalog), sulangkang (Subanun), lepouo (Bontok)
Thailand Soi nok khao (Southeastern), yaanok khao (Central), yaa khai hao(Northern)
Vietnam C[or] b[uj]ng cu, b[if]ink cu
French Mollugine, olsine

Geographical Distributions

M. pentaphylla is distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics of the Old World, from India to New Caledonia and Micronesia, but is rare in Australia.


It is an erect or prostrate plant, smooth annual; often much-branched from the base. It can grow 2-35 cm tall, with a thin taproot. The stems are thin and angular often tinged brownish-red when old.

The leaves are in false whorls of 3-5(-9) or partly opposite with the basal ones in a rosette. The leaves are oblong-obovate-spatulate. The upper leaves are smaller, linear-lance-shaped about 10-50 mm x 1.5-10 mm in size with both ends narrowed. The margins are entire with prominent midrib underneath. The petiole is short or absent and the stipules are minute.

Its inflorescence is lax axillary or terminal cyme, often with long racemiform branches. The bracts are small and persistent. Its pedicel is between 1.5-6 mm long, persistent and recurved, long after the fall of the fruiting perianth. Flowers are bisexual with 5 free tepals; oval-oblong in shape, and1-2 mm long.  The apex is rounded, white on the inside while the outside is green with white margins. It is widely expanded during anthesis, connivent to a globe afterwards. There are three stamens that are alternate with the carpels. The filaments are short. The 3 white styles are free and very short. The 3-loculed ovary is superior.

Its fruit is a broadly ellipsoid, 2 mm long and thin-walled capsule with three carpels.The finely granulated seeds are numerous, reniform, 0.8 mm in diametre and dark brown in colour.

The seedling’s germination is epigeal. Its hypocotyl is 3.5-5 mm long and the size of cotyledons is 3 mm x 1.5 mm. The apex is acute while its petiole is short. The first leaf form is elliptical to egg-shaped, petiolate, hairless and possess a distinct midvein. 

Ecology / Cultivation

M. pentaphylla occurs in semi-arid to humid regions, mostly locally abundant as a minor weed in cultivated areas, including rice fields.

Line Drawing / Photograph



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