Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Epipremnum pinnatum


Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl.

Family Name: Araceae
Synonyms: Monstera pinnata, Rhaphidophora pinnata, Scindapsus pinnatus, Pothos pinnatus
Common Name: Dragon-Tail Plant, Taro Vine, Silver Vine, 龙尾草, 麒麟叶, 麒麟尾, 龟背竹, 拎树藤, 上树龙, 狮尾草, 狮子尾

Epipremnum pinnatum, commonly known as the Dragon-Tail Plant, starts life on the ground and climbs up trees in its natural forest environment, transitioning to an epiphytic lifestyle over time. It exhibits foliage dimorphism, where juvenile leaves look different from mature leaves of the same plant.


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Epiphyte, Creeper
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 15 m to 20 m


Native Distribution India, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indochina, Malesia (including Singapore), Tropical Australia, Pacific Islands
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Naturalised))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Large epiphytic aroid root-climber, scrambling up trees and rock surfaces with network of aerial clasping roots.
Foliage Leaf morphology varies with physiological age of plant. Juvenile plants are terrestrial creepers. Plant produces mature leaves only when there is sufficient climbing height. Young leaves elliptical to arrow-shaped with entire margins. Mature leaves up to 30 - 50cm long, thick and leathery, ovate and pinnatifid (deeply incised along margins), often with white spots and pin-holes along mid-rib, and with fenestrations (windows) in leaf-blade -- superficially resembling Monstera species.
Flowers Small (3-7mm across) on spathe-spadix inflorescences. Spathe (modified leaf) canoe-shaped, 10cm long, greenish on outside, creamy-white on inside; Monoecious species, spadix holds male and female flowers separately, white when fresh, maturing to creamy grey-green and then dark yellowish-green during anthesis, before air-drying to dark brown or almost black after anthesis. No noticeable scent upon anthesis. Blooming infrequently observed in Singapore.
Fruit Aggregate berries clustered on medium-green spadix, red when ripe, containing small brownish seeds embedded in sticky orange-red pulp.
Others - Plant Morphology Conservation Status: Native, critically endangered in the wild.
Habitat Found naturally in dense rainforests. In urbanized Singapore, typically spotted using Samanea saman (Rain Tree) as physical support.
Cultivation Low-maintenance. Plant in friable rich soil at base of support tree, wall or fence, and allow it to climb. Tolerates some amount of waterlogging and salinity. Grows faster when located in sunnier spot. Propagate by stem cuttings and seeds (if available).
Etymology Genus epithet 'Epipremnum' derived from the Greek terms 'epi' (upon) and 'premna' (tree stump), a reference to the epiphytic growth habit of plants from this genus. Species epithet 'pinnatum' refers to pinnately-lobed shape of mature leaves.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Herb or Spice)
Others: Medicinal: Leaves and stems traditionally used as poultice to treat rheumatism, fractures and skin diseases. Also used as remedy for dysentery. Extracts of plant have reported to be a strong inhibitor against human breast cancer and leukemia cells. Used as traditional anti-cancer remedy -- fresh leaves are slowly boiled until they disintegrate into a wheatgrass-like broth, which can be mixed with rock sugar and drunk. Food: Leaves can also be boiled with red beans and red dates to make a sweet dessert with cooling and anti-inflammatory properties.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Coastal, General, Vertical Greenery / Green Wall
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks All parts of plant contains oxalic crystals which can irritate throat if ingested.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water, Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Saline Soils / Salt Spray
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Stem Cutting, Stolon / Runner


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny, Leathery, Thick
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate, Elliptical, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire, Entire - Wavy / Undulate, Pinnately Lobed / Pinnatifid, Irregularly Incised
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Acuminate
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse, Cordate
Typical Foliar Area Macrophyll ( 182.25cm2 - 1640.25 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous, Cane
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root), Aboveground (Aerial Root)
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Aboveground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White
Flower Size - Remarks 3 - 7 mm across
Inflorescence Type Spathe & Spadix
Flowering Habit Polycarpic
Inflorescence Size Remarks White when young, turning to creamy grey-green and then dark yellowish-green at anthesis, before air-drying to dark brown to almost black.
Flowering Period Remarks Plant blooms occasionally.

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Red
Fruit Classification Aggregate Fruit (Syncarp)
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Berry

Image Repository



Master ID 97
Species ID 1393
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: 31 January 2024.