Abrus precatorius L.

Abrus precatorius L.





Vernacular Names

Malaysia Akar saga.
English Indian liquorice, jequirity bean, crab's eye.
Indonesia Saga, saga manis (General), saga telik (Javanese).
Philippines Saga, kansasaga, bangati (General).
Myanmar Ywe-nge.
Cambodia ângkreem, kre:m krâ:m (Kompong Thom).
Laos Khua sa em, makam.
Thailand Ma klam taanuu (Bangkok), klam khruea (Chiang Mai), ma khaam thao(Trang).
Vietnam D[aa]y c[uw][owf]m th[ar]o, cam th[ar]o d[aa]y, d[aa]y t[uw][ow]ng t[uw].
French Jéquirity, liane reglisse.

Geographical Distributions

Abrus precatorius is found in Africa, tropical and subtropical America (introduced), tropical Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands; throughout Southeast Asia.


Abrus precatorius is a woody climber which can reach up to 6(-9) m long. The stems often attain 1.5 cm in diametre.

There are 16-34 leaves which are oblong, with obovate-oblong or ovate leaflets and obtuse to acuminate at apex. The inflorescence is thick, robust and usually curved while the flowers are in dense clusters on cushion-like nodes.

The fruit is oblong and inflated with 1-7 seeds. The seeds are ovoid, scarlet with area around the black hilum, rarely entire black and whitish or yellowish.

Ecology / Cultivation

Abrus precatorius occurs in grasslands, cropped lands (also as a weed), thickets, edges of monsoon rain forests and gallery forests up to 1500 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph



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