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Operculina turphetum (L.) S. Manso

Operculina turphetum (L.) S. Manso




Convolvulus turphetum L., Ipomoea anceps Roem. & Schult.

Vernacular Names


Indian jalap, turpeth-root, wood rose.


Areuy jotang (Sundanese), sampar-kedung, bala­ran (Javanese).


Bangbangau, laplap­sut (Iloko), kamokamotihan (Tagalog).


Chingcho liam (Northern).


Ch[if]a v[oo]i, b[if]m n[aw]p.


Turbith végétal.

Geographical Distributions

Operculina tur­phetum is distributed in the Old World tropics from East Africa, the Mascarene Islands and Sey­chelles, through India to South and Southeast Asia, tropical Australia and Polynesia. It has not yet been recorded in Sumatra, and is rare in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo.


Operculina turphetum is a perennial twiner, with stems 2-4 m long, narrowly 3-5-winged, grooved or angular, hairless or soft hairy at the nodes, with long rhizomes, fleshy and much branched.

The leaves are arranged alternate, simple, very variable in shape, orbicular, broadly ovate, ovate to lance-shaped, and the broad leaves measure 5.5-15 cm x 4-14 cm. The narrow ones measure 5.5-7.5 cm x 1-2.5 cm, cor­date to hastate at base, acuminate at apex, acute or obtuse and mucronulate. The leaf margin is entire or rarely coarsely dentate to shallowly lobed. The upper surface is hairless or appressed hairy while the lower surface is hairy.

The petiole is 2.5-7.5 cm long, cylindrical or some­times winged. The inflorescence is a few-flowered cyme. The peduncle is 2-18 cm long, cylindrical or sometimes wing­ed, and hairless or hairy. The flowers are actinomorphic, 5-merous, with angular pedicel, 12-15(-35) mm long and pubescent. The bracts are oblong or elliptical-oblong, mucronulate, 1.5-2 cm long, pubescent and caduceus. There are 5 sepals which are free, ovate or broadly ovate and acute. The outer sepal is 1.5-2.5 cm long and pubescent outside while the inner ones are 2 cm long and hairless. The sepal in fruit is broadly cup-shaped and up to 6 cm in diametre. The petal is broadly funnel-shaped, 3-4.5 cm long, white, sometimes with yellowish base, hairless and rarely with yellowish gland hairs outside. There are 5 stamens which are inserted. The filaments are adnate to the petal and sparsely pubescent below.

The fruit is a cap­sule, depressed-spherical, 1.5 cm in diameter and with up to 4 seeds. The epicarp is circumscissile in or above the middle. The upper part (operculum) is more or less fleshy, separating from the lower part and from the endocarp. The endocarp is scarious, longitudinally split and irregular. The seed is trigonous to glob­ular, 6 mm long, smooth and dull black.

Ecology / Cultivation

Operculina turphetum is weedy, and occurs in open forests, teak forests, hedges, thickets, road­sides and waste places, occasionally in sugar cane plantations, restricted to regions with a medium or strong monsoon, from sea level up to 1300 m al­titude.

Line Drawing / Photograph



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

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