Cardiospermum halicacabum

Cardiospermum halicacabum




Cardiospermum corindum L., Cardiospermum microcarpum Humb., Bonpl. & Kunth, Cardiospermum luridum Blume.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Peria buian, uban kayu, bintang berahi.
English Ballon vine, heart pea.
Indonesia Ketipes (Javanese), paria gunung (Sundanese), cenet (Malay, Western Sumatra).
Philippines Parol-parolan (Tagalog), kana (Cebu Bisaya), paria aso (Iloko).
Thailand Kok kra om (central), pho om (Pattani), luupleep khruea (northern).
Vietnam T[aaf]m phong, ch[uf]m phong.
French Coeur des Indes, pois de coeur.

Geographical Distributions

C. halicacabum probably originates from the New World tropics. At present, it is a common weed in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world, and is common throughout Malesia. It is reported to be cultivated in the Philippines and Burma (Myanmar).


It is an annual or perennial climbing herb or subshrub, up to 3 m tall. It is often much branched especially near the base. The stems are deeply 5-grooved, slender, and hairless to sparsely hairy.

The 5-8 cm x 5-8 cm leaves are arranged alternate, compound and biternate. The leaf stalk is 1.5-3 cm long, grooved, slender and with minute stipules at the base. Its leaflets are mostly 3-partite and pinnately lobed. Lobes and apex are aristulate and nearly hairless to sparsely covered with short appressed hairs. The leaflet stalk is narrowly winged. The terminal leaflet is 1 cm long while the lateral ones are about 0.5 cm.

This 5-14 cm long compound inflorescence is arising from the axil, with sparsely short hairs and a pair of tendrils. The 1-2 mm long bracts are lance-shaped to elliptical. Flowers are unisexual, 2-3.5 cm long, obliquely zygomorphic, with slender pedicel. There are 4 broadly ovate to broadly elliptical 1-2.5 mm x 1.2-2 mm sepals, imbricate, green, red-tinged with white margins and nearly hairless. Its 4 petals are obovate-cuneate to orbicular, 1.5-2.5 mm x 1-2 mm, with a scale inside above the base of each petal, white to cream with yellowish margin and almost hairless. Its 8 stamens are unequal and slightly curved upwards. The filaments are 0.8-2.5 mm long, only slightly reduced in female flowers and slightly hairy. The anthers are 0.5 mm long. The ovary is superior, obovoid, 2-3 mm long, 3-angled and 3-celled, with 1 ovule per cell, variously hairy, with a short columnar style and 3-lobed stigma. The pistil is strongly reduced in the male flowers.

Fruit is a globular capsule, inflated, between 1.5-4 cm in diametre, 3-lobed and 3-celled. It is papery, green but reddish at base or with reddish veins.

Seeds are nearly spherical, about 4 mm in diametre, dull-black, smooth and hairless. Its hilum is prominent, white, heart-shaped and rather large.

Ecology / Cultivation

C. halicacabum is found under a wide range of ecological conditions: in ever-wet or seasonal climates, on acid and basic soils, and in dry, marshy or periodically flooded places. It prefers sunny places, such as wasteland, roadsides, grassland, scrub, hedges and forest edges, at altitudes up to 1500 m.

Line Drawing / Photograph


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