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Dischidia nummularia


Dischidia nummularia R. Br.

Family Name: Apocynaceae
Synonyms: Dischidia gaudichaudii Decne.
Common Name: Button Orchid, Daun pitis kecil, 圆叶眼树莲


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana, Epiphyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial


Native Distribution India, Sri Lanka, China (In Southern provinces - Southern Yunnan, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan)  Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Coastal Forest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Slender creeping epiphyte often forming dense masses on trees on which it occurs.
Foliage Leaves opposite, round, dull greenish-yellow, often thick and succulent, 7mm-10mm in diameter. Young leaves occasionally with powdery bloom.
Flowers Flowers white to yellowish-white, about 1mm in length, occurring in umbels of 1-5 flowers.
Fruit Its fruits are follicles that split open at one side when mature, pale green or yellow, and 2–4 by 0.4 cm. Its seeds contain fatty substances that provide food for ants.
Habitat It grows on trees along the coasts, in mangrove, lowland and hill forests, and on limestone hills up to 550 m altitude. It can also be found on trees along roads, in villages and plantations. It occurs locally in Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin and many other sites on Singapore Island.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated. The fatty substances in the seeds provide food for ants.
Etymology Greek dis, two; Greek askidion, ascidium, alluding to the leaves which may or may not develop into pitchers; Latin nummus, resembling a coin, possibly referring to the plant’s tiny, nearly circular leaves
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: The leaves are used to treat gonorrhea and tropical sores (aphthae tropicae). Its latex is used to ease the pain from the stings of spiny catfishes.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It can withstand hot, sunny, and high wind speed conditions, and is suitable for planting on roadside trees.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Hanging Basket, General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Coastal

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Little Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow
Pest(s) Sucking Insects
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Herbaceous)


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Margin Entire

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) White, Cream / Off-White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Inflorescence Type Umbel

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Yellow / Golden, Green
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Follicle

Image Repository



Master ID 89
Species ID 1385
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 23 February 2022.