Picria fel-terrae

Picria fel-terrae




Curanga amara Vahl, Curanga fel-terrae (Lour.) Merr.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Hempedu tanah, gelumak susu, rumput kerak nasi.
Indonesia Tamah raheut (Sundanese), daun kukurang (Moluccas), papaita (Ternate).
Philippines Sagai-uak (Sulu).
Laos kông saden, (do:k) pu:n.
Vietnam m[aaj]t d[aas]t, thanh

Geographical Distributions

P. fel-terrae is distributed in Asia from the eastern Himalayas to India, Burma (Myanmar), southern China, Indo-China, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi, Moluccas and the Philippines.


It is an annual herb that grows up to 40 cm tall with stems laxly branched, erect or prostrate, quadrangular, has rooting at the nodes and densely minutely pubescent.

The simple leaves are arranged opposite. The leaf is egg-shaped size 2-5 cm x 1.5-3 cm, the base is wedge-shaped to rounded while the apex is sub-acute. The leaf margins are blunt teeth and covered with short soft hair with 2-15 mm long stalk.

The inflorescence is terminal or pseudo-axillary raceme, 2-6 cm long with 2-16 flowers. The bracts are small and lance-shaped with 4-7 mm long pedicel. The sepal is flat, with 4 sepals in 2 series. The upper outer sepal is heart-shaped, sized at 7-9 mm x 6-8 mm while the lower outer one is slightly bi-lobed sized at 5-6 mm x 4-5 mm long. The flower increases in size with age, consisting of 2 slender lateral inner ones at the size of 2-3 mm long. All are minutely pubescent. The petal is tubular and two-lipped. The tube is 8 mm long and smooth on the outside. The other 2 lateral ridges have glandular hairs inside, consisting of 2-3 mm long reddish-brown upper lip. Meanwhile the lower lip is 2.5-3.5 mm long, white, with 3 lobes, a tube and 2 stamens each at 1 mm long at the posterior. The 2 yellow abortive stamens with imperfect anther are anterior while the deltoid-ovoid ovary is superior and hairless. The style is slender while its stigma is slightly bi-lobed.

The fruit is a reverse egg-shaped capsule at a size of 4 mm x 3 mm, bivalved with several seeds. The spherical seed is about 0.6 mm in diametre and have 8 oblong hollows.

Ecology / Cultivation

P. fel-terrae is a rare to rather common herb; occurring on forest slopes, or shady forest edges, from sea-level up to 900 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph



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