Friday, 30 April 2010

Sauropus androgynus - Cekur Manis

Synonyms : S. albicans, S. sumatranus, Clutia androgyna.


Order : Magnoliopsida

Family : Phyllanthaceae

Tribe : Phyllantheae

Surtribe : Flueggeinae


The genus Sauropus comprises about 40 species.


Commonly known as star gooseberry, sweet leave, cekur manis (Malay), katuk (Indonesia), Pak wanban (Thai), rau ngót (Vietnamese), 树仔菜, 板面菜 and 马尼菜.


It’s a perennial herb capable to reach 3 m in height. Stems are multiple, semi-woody, upright, green in colour, about 0.5 cm in diameter. Older stem may become somewhat woody and have slight brownish colour. Leaves are pinnately altenate, ovate. The mature leaves dark green with 5 – 6 cm long, younger shoots tends to be lighter green. Flowers underside of leaves’ petiole, small, 0.5 mm diameter, white to pinkish. Fruits are capsules, white to reddish, with 3 black seeds.

Propagation is by cuttings. Easily propagated and heavy yielding.


The leaves and shoots are consumed as leafy vegetable.


Studies shows that the leaf contains 88.32% water, 4.84% protein, 0.19% lipid, 5.36% carbohydrate, and 1.11 fiber 2. The leaf also contains b-carotene, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium. It’s among only a few floral containing vitamin K.


However, studies have suggested that its consumption can cause lung damage, due to its high concentration of papaverine ( 580mg/100g fresh leaf 1).


1.P.Padmavathi & M.Prabhakara Rao, 1990, Nutritive Value of Sauropus androgynus Leaves, Plant Food for Human Nutrition 40:107-113.

2. Naruman Benjapak et al, 2008, Determination of Antioxidant Capacity and Nutritive Values of Pak-Wanban, KKU Sci. J. 36(4) 279-289 (2008)

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Green Product : String - Cyperus tegetiformis 咸草

Angiosperms - Monocots - Commelinids - Poales -Cyperaceae

Synonyms : Chlorocyperus malacensis, Cyperus malaccensis var. brevifolius, Cyperus malaccensis ssp.monophyllus


Common Name : Short-leaved Malacca Galingale, Salt-water grass, Chinese matgrass, 咸草, 鹹水草, 短葉茳芏, 蒲草, 野席草, 席草仔, shishito (Japanese)


Distribution : Persian Gulf, India, S.China, N.Australia, Polynesia, S.E.Asia

Habitat : Margins of swamps and in salt marshes



Biology Characteristics :


Stem 4-6 mm in diameter, sharply trigonous.

Rhizome with short stolons.

Flowers are hermaphrodite.

It prefers acid, neutral and basic soil, and can grow in saline soil. It cannot grow in the shades.


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Economic Importance :

Before the use of polypropylene raffia string & plastic bags, dried stalks were used for tying goods in morning markets and groceries stores.

Today, it is still used for tying zongzi.

Dried stalks were used for weaving mats (龍鳳草蓆), straw hats, basket, etc

Used in Chinese medicine.





. Plants For a Future Wikipedia Encyclopedia of life

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Cresentia cujete

Commonly know as the Calabash tree, is a species of flowering plant native to Central & South America. It is a member of the Bignoniaceae family, of Lamiales order. In Chinese, its called 炮弹果(中国种子植物科属辞典),瓠瓜木(台湾),红椤(海南),葫芦树(广州).


Bignoniaceae is a family of plants comprising of about 650-750 species in 116-120 genera. It was named after Jean-Paul Bignon, a Frenchman, by his protégé Joseph Pitton de Tournefort in 1694. Members are mostly trees and shrubs. Other members of this family including Jacaranda, and Tabebuia, which are planted as ornamental trees.


Crescemtia is a small evergreen tropical tree growing up to 25’ tall. The crown is irregular.

The bark is rough.

Flowers appear directly from nodes on the trunk and branches, about 2” wide, with yellow/green colour.

Leaf is simple, entire, obovate, 4” – 8” length.


The fruit decoction is use as medicine to treat diarrhea, stomach ache, colds, bronchitis, cough, asthma, and urethritis. The leaves are used to treat hypertension.


The hard woody skin of the fruit can be used as a water container, bowls.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Sekapur Sirih

The tradition of eating betel can be trace back to more than 3,000 years ago. It’s practiced from various groups ranging from the poor, the nobles, the royal and even the children..

The tradition is said to be originated from India. Some said It’s from Indonesian islands, but Malaysian Malays claims that they started the tradition without external influence. Nevertheless, it’s an important cultural activity in many Asian and Oceanic countries..

The normal ingredient of betel chewing consists of betel leaf ( leaf of Piper betle ), betel nut ( fruit of Areca catechu ), kapur and gambir ( extract of Uncaria gambir’s leaves )..

Betel leaf / Sireh ( Piper betle ) is a perennial creeper belong to the Piperaceae family. The plant originated from South & S.E.Asia. Betel oil contains chavitetol, chavicol, estragole, eugenol, methyl eugenol and hydroxycatechol. .
It is use fresh to wrap the betel nut, kapur and gambir for chewing. .

Betel nut / Pinang ( Areca catechu ) is a species of palm tree originated from S.E.Asia. The seed contains arecain and arecoline, which is intoxicating and slightly addictive, also claimed to be link to oral cancers. .

The alkaloid arecoline in betel nut acts as stimulant to promote salivation.
Kapur / slaked lime is from grind shell in a little liquid. It is Calcium hydroxide with molecular formuala Ca(OH)2.
The lime acts to keep the active ingredient in its freebase form, thus enabling it to enter the bloodstream via sublingual absorption..

Gambir ( Uncaria gambir ) is a shrub from the family Rubiaceae. Native to S.E.Asia . It contains many catechins which are known to have many medicinal properties and are components of Chinese herbal remedies..

To make gambir, the leaves are first boiled in water, then pressed to squeeze and extract the liquid. The liquid is then dried into a semi-solid paste and molded into cubes, which are dried under the sun.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Durian 榴槤

There are about 30 known species of Durio. So far 9 species have been identified to produce edible fruits : D. zibethinus, D. dulcis, D. grandiflorus, D. graveolens, D. kutenensis, D. lowianus, D. macrantha, D. oxleyanus, D. testudinarum.

However, there are many species for which the fruit has never been collected or properly described and it is possible that other species with edible fruit exist.

Durio oxleyanus
Husk green. Spine slender & long. Flesh is yellow.

Durio kutejunsis
Husk yellow. Spine short. Flesh yellow, sticky, less sweet.

Durio zibethinus
Husk yellowish to green. Spine short. Flesh is white to yellow, sweet.

The name durian comes from the Malay word duri ( literally means thorn ), with a suffix -an for building a noun in Malay.
zibethinus refers to the Indian civet, Viverra zibetha.
There is disagreement regarding whether this name, refers to civets being so fond of the durian that the fruit was used as bait to entrap them, or to the durian smelling like the civet.

Thursday, 8 April 2010


Baccaurea of family Phyllanthaceae, is a genus of small, dioecious trees. The flowers are borned in clustered spikes. The fruit is a drupe, has a firm, fleshy pericarp, with 1 – 6 large seeds, with juicy sourly endocarp. Several species are edible, and some are cultivated.

There are some 80 species of Baccaurea genus, distributed naturally from India to

Baccaurea angulata- red angle tampoi .

Baccaurea motlyena - rambai

Baccaurea macrocarpa – tampoi