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Procris repens (Lour.) B.J.Conn & Hadiah

Family Name: Urticaceae
Synonyms: Elatostema repens var. viride, Pellionia pulchra, Elatostema daveauanum, Pellionia daveauana, Elatostema repens var. pulchrum, Elatostema gibbosum, Boehmeria repens, Pellionia daveauana var. viridis, Procris gibbosa, Pellionia repens
Common Name: Trailing Watermelon Begonia, Wavy Watermelon Begonia, Satin Creeper, Rainbow Vine, Sisek Naga, 吐烟花
Full Shade Semi-Shade Moderate Water Occasional Misting Caterpillar Food Plant Native to Singapore Hanging Basket Interiorscape / Indoor Plant Ornamental Foliage Woody Creeper Herbaceous Creeper


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 Shrub (Trailing, Herbaceous, Creeper)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 0.2 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.6 m


Native Distribution Bhutan, India, Southern China, Indochina, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Presumed Nationally Extinct (NE))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a small herbaceous creeper, with prostrate ground-hugging habit, up to 15 cm tall, spreading or trailing up to 60 cm.
Foliage Its alternate, fleshy leaves have toothed or wavy leaf blades that are elliptic to oblong, and sometimes broadly egg-shaped, asymmetrically-cordate based, and 2.5–10 by 2–5 cm. The veins are mosaic-like on upper leaf surface, and distinctly reddish or brownish on lower surface. The stipules are pink-reddish, diamond-shaped, found at base of leaf petioles. Its leaf colour resembles watermelon rinds or the foliage of certain Begonias and are variable, ranging from grey-green in between brownish to purplish-green edges to almost totally brownish-green, and becoming completely purplish-brown with age.
Stems Its semi-fleshy stems are slightly zigzag, brownish, rooting at nodes upon contact with ground.
Flowers Its tiny flowers are white or pink with a tinge of silver, and arranged in branched clusters. The staminate (male) inflorescences are 0.6 -3.0 cm across, and 2-14 cm long, with the male flowers bearing 5 tepals (indistinguishable petals and sepals) and 5 stamens. The pistillate (female) inflorescences are smaller (3 mm across), stalkless, with the female flowers bearing 5 tepals (as long as or longer than fruits).
Fruits Its fruits are tiny achenes, ovoid to ellipsoidal, tuberculate.
Habitat It grows on  moist shady spots on rocks and the forest floors.
Similar It resembles Elatostema species, which have non-tuberculate, longitidinally-ribbed achenes, and whose female flowers have 3 tepals that are much shorter than the achenes.
Associated Fauna It is the food plant for caterpillars of the butterflies, the great eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina bolina), Jacintha eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina jacintha), and danaid eggfly (Hypolimnas misippus misippus).
Cultivation It prefers consistently moist but well-drained soils and is prone to rot under constantly waterlogged conditions. It requires high humidity, so it is best cultivated enclosed within terrariums if placed in air-conditioned or cold-draughty locations. It is easily propagated by stem cuttings.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Pellionia' named after French Vice-Admiral Joseph Alphonse Odet-Pellion (1796-1868), who sailed with French navigator Louis de Freycinet around the world from 1817-1820. Species epithet 'repens' means 'spreading' or 'creeping', a reference to the plant's growth habit.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( It is used by the Malays for poulticing boils, swollen areas, and the abdomen when it is painful. A decoction from the plant is used for rheumatism. )

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is grown for its attractive leaves. Under full shade, the leaves remain almost completely green but when given more light, the leaves become water melon-patterned. It is suitable for indoor as well as terrarium planting.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Easy to Grow, Moist Soils
Landscape Uses Container Planting, Hanging Basket, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, General, Vertical Greenery / Green Wall, Terrarium, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Skyrise / Balcony
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment
Species record last updated on: 24 September 2020.