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Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. ex Kurz.

Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. ex Kurz.




Ophioxylon serpentinum L.

Vernacular Names




Pule pandak (Javanese).


Khem daeng (Northern), ra yom (Central), ka yom (Peninsular).


Ba g[aj]c [aas] d[ooj], ba g[aj]c hoa d[or], ba g[aj]c thu[oos]c.

Geographical Distributions

Rauvolfia serpentina is found in India, Sri Lanka, Indo-China, southern China (Yunnan), Thailand, northern Peninsular Malaysia, Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands (Flores, Timor); cultivated in Pakistan, Nepal, India, Java, Ambon, Vietnam, southern China and Georgia.


Rauvolfia serpentina is a small shrub that can reach up to 0.6(-1) m tall where the prominent tuberous is usually with an unbranched root and usually unbranched slender stem.

The leaves are arranged opposite or 3(-5)-verticillate, oblance-shaped or obovate, and measuring 7-16 cm x 3-9 cm while the petiole is up to 1.5 cm long.

The flowers with narrow cylindrical tube are much longer than the sepal.

The fruits consist of 1-2 spherical drupelets that are united at the base. 

Ecology / Cultivation

Rauvolfia serpentina occurs in sunny or shaded places in well-drained rainforests and secondary thickets up to 2100 m altitude, sometimes as a weed in sugar cane fields.

Line Drawing / PhotographRauvolfia_serpentina


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

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