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Strobilanthes alternata


Strobilanthes alternata (Burm.f.) Moylan ex J.R.I.Wood

Family Name: Acanthaceae
Synonyms: Hemigraphis colorata, Hemigraphis alternata
Common Name: Red Ivy, Red Flame Ivy, Metal Leaf


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant, Creeper
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial


Native Distribution Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, China

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Herbaceous perennial with a creeping growth habit.
Foliage Silvery green, ovate (egg-shaped) to cordate (heart-shaped) leaves have purple leaf tips and underside. The upper leaf surface is more silvery green in shade, but more purple near the leaf tips in full sun. Paired leaves occur in an opposite leaf arrangement. Glossy, leathery leaves are deeply veined with crenate leaf margin (toothed edge).
Stems Purple stems root easily near the nodes (points of leaf attachment to the stem). 
Flowers Off-white, trumpet-shaped flowers have 5 round lobes and purple streaks in the throat.
Fruits Dry, dehiscent fruits are known as capsules.
Habitat Occurs on the forest floor.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( In southern India, the leaves are rubbed against bruises and wounds to promote healing. In Java, leaves are used to treat bloody diarrhoea, hemorrhoids, excessive menstruation and skin diseases.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Groundcover

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Food Plant (Leaves)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Stem Cutting, Leaf Cutting, Division


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Purple
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Raised / Sunken Veins
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Remarks Silvery Green

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) White

Image Repository



Master ID 791
Species ID 2086
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 February 2022.