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Trachyspermum roxburghianum (DC.) H. Wolff

Trachyspermum roxburghianum (DC.) H. Wolff




Ptychotis roxburghiana DC., Carum roxburghianum (DC.) Benth., Trachyspermum involucratum (Royle) H. Wolff.

Vernacular Names

Indonesia Surage (Sundanese), pletikapu (Javanese), renggireng (Aceh).
Thailand Phakchi-lom (Kanchanaburi).
Philippines Kanuikui (Manobo), malungkoi (Subanun).
Vietnam Hoa kh[oof]m.

Geographical Distributions

Trachyspermum roxburghianum is a cultigen of unknown origin, but it occurs cultivated and subspontaneous (but not naturalised) throughout South and Southeast Asia. In West Java, surage is probably a disappearing crop; it has been found cultivated only in home gardens and upland fields in a very restricted area around Cileungsi and Kalapanunggal (Bogor Regency).


Trachyspermum roxburghianum is an annual, erect, aromatic herb that can grow 15-90 cm tall. The stem is striate, nearly smooth and usually much branched.

The leaves are arranged alternately and pinnately compound. The sheathing petiole is up to 1.5 cm long. The blade is ternately pinnate or 1-2-pinnate, ovate-lance-shaped in outline, measuring 3-8 cm x 1-3 cm, with pinnatifid to pinnatipartite segments (leaflets) which are linear and measuring 0.3-3 cm x 1-3 mm. Those of the upper leaves are gradually becoming nearly slender.

The inflorescence is regular, terminal or axillary and with a compound umbel. The peduncle is 2-8 cm long. There are 2-5 involucral bracts which are 3-10 mm long, linear-lance-shaped  and acute while there are also 2-9 primary rays 1-3.5 cm long . In addition, there are 5-8 involucral bractlets which are slender, measuring 2-3 mm long and finely ciliate. The 5-15 secondary rays (pedicels) are 2-7 mm long. The 5 sepal teeth are small or obscure and hardly 0.1 mm long. There are 5 petals, which are obcordate with broadly-inflexed obtuse apices, measuring about 1.3 mm x 0.8 mm, white or greenish-white and hirsute. Five radiating stamens are present. The pistil is with a compressed, glandular hairy ovary, and with 2 deflexed styles that arise from a conical stylopodium where each style ends in a semi-spherical stigma.

The fruit is a laterally flattened, ovoid to nearly spherical schizocarp, measuring 1-2.5 mm x 1-2 mm, and rather densely covered with short, thick and white hairs. It easily splits into 2 and with one-seeded mericarps. The mericarp is convex dorsally, ventrally flat, and with 5 prominent longitudinal ribs that alternate with furrows of 3 undulating oil ducts (usually 1 large and 2 smaller ones) and 2 oil ducts on the commissural side. The seed is with testa adnate to the mericarp wall.

Ecology / Cultivation

In Southeast Asia, Trachyspermum roxburghianum is grown on a small scale in home gardens, in flower pots, on drained rice fields, and in upland fields, up to about 750 m altitude. It seems to prefer not too heavy, fertile, calcareous soils.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 13: Spices.

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