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Volkameria inermis


Volkameria inermis L.

Family Name: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Synonyms: Clerodendrum inerme (L.) Burm. f.
Common Name: Indian Privet, Seashore Tubeflower, Bunga Pawang, Wild Jasmine, Sorcerers Bush, Seaside Clerodendrum, 苦郎树


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, Climber, Vine & Liana
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 3 m to 13 m


Native Distribution Southern China, India, Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and Polynesia
Native Habitat Shoreline (Mangrove Forest, Backshore)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is an evergreen erect bush that grows up to about 3 m tall, or a climber up to 13 m long.
Foliage Its stalked leaves have membranous leaf blades that are oval or narrowly lance-shaped, not covered with hair when mature, and 3.8–8.8 by 1.8–4.3 cm, with inconspicuous veins.
Flowers Its flowers grow in groups of 3–7 on the end of branches (axils). Its petals are white or tinged purple, and fragrant.
Fruits Its drupe (fruit) is drop-shaped, bright green turning black or brown, and 0.8 cm in diameter.
Habitat It grows on coasts, edges of mangrove forests, in saline marshes, swamps, and tidal mud. It occurs locally in Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong.
Associated Fauna It is the preferred local food plant for the caterpillars of the butterfly gram blue (Euchrysops cnejus) and moth Acherontia styx.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed or stem cutting.
Etymology Latin Volkameria, after Johann Georg Volkamer (1662–1744), who author the flora of Nuremberg; Latin inerme, defenseless, without spines or thorns, referring to the plant’s characteristics
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( A decoction of the root is administered as a febrifuge and general alterative. The leaves are used in poultices as a resolvent. Its seeds or its finely ground roots are used as a remedy for an upset stomach, especially if caused by poisonous seafood. This treatment is often combined with a decoction of the leaves, simultaneously employed as a bath but also as a drink. In Thailand, a decoction of the leaves or a poultice of ground leaves is used in the treatment of skin diseases and itches. In Vietnam, a decoction of roasted leaves is considered a remedy for beriberi. Its root boiled in oil is used as a liniment useful in rheumatism.)
[Others]: It is introduced in parts of the tropics to control erosion. 

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for parks, streetscapes, and gardens as a bushy shrub.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils, Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses Coastal, General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Beachfront / Shoreline

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Moth Food Plant, Moth Food Plant, Caterpillar Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Transplanting Tolerance Good
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


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 (Oval, Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White, Purple
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown, Black
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 527
Species ID 1823
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: 15 February 2022.