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Clerodendrum villosum


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Shrub, Tree (Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 7.5 m


Native Distribution India to Myanmar, Indochina, Thailand, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Borneo, and Java
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Grassland / Savannah/ Scrubland, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a shrub or small tree up to 7.5 m tall and entirely covered with soft, often thick velvety, white hairs.
Foliage Its opposite, stalked leaves possess leaf blades that are light green, mostly heart-shaped, and 7–29 by 5–21 cm, with short tips.
Flowers Its flowering clusters, at the branch tips, are shoots up to 31 cm long and wide, bearing white, 1.3 cm-wide flowers.
Fruit Its black fruits are round and 8–10 mm wide. The fruits are seated on a fleshy, star-like, white, cup-like structure formed by the persistent calyx.
Habitat It grows along forest margins, in open countries, villages, and waste places, up to 900 m altitude. It occurs locally in Nee Soon Swamp Forest, Pulau Tekong, and in the vicinity of Old Upper Thomson Road and Seletar Reservoir.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated and its fruits are eaten by birds.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Greek kleros, chance; Greek dendron, a tree, referring to the variable medicinal efficacies of the plants in this genus; Latin villosum, covered with soft hair, referring to the hair found on this plant
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Stems
Food (Herb and Spice): The bark is eaten as a betel nut substitute.
Medicinal: Poison from darts can be removed using the leaves.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This species can be grown in parks and gardens as a shrub and may be tolerant of roadside conditions. The whitish appearance of the plant from its hairs, the large inflorescences, and shiny black fruits, make it distinctive and attractive.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens
Thematic Landscaping Silver Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting, Butterfly Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Green - Light Green, Silver / Grey
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Cordate)
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 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Bilateral

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Black
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 534
Species ID 1830
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: 24 December 2021.