Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Lasia spinosa


Lasia spinosa (L.) Thw.

Family Name: Araceae
Synonyms: Dracontium spinosum L., Lasia aculeata Lour.
Common Name: Geli-geli, Bekil, Spiny Lasia, 刺芋


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, Aquatic & Hydrophyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 1.5 m


Native Distribution India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Riverine), Aquatic (Freshwater Pond / Lake / River)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a large, spiny, marsh plant, up to 1.5 m tall.
Foliage Its alternate, long- and spiky-stalked leaves have broad leaf blades that are arrow-shaped and 20-30 cm long when young. The leaves are divided into 4-8 pairs of lance-shaped lobes up to 4 cm wide when mature.
Flowers Its flowers are borne on a yellow or brown, up to 4 cm long, flowering shoot that is enclosed by a 35-40 cm long, modified leaf (spathe) that is purplish on the outside and greenish inside.
Fruit Its hard, rough surfaced fruits are borne on the axis of the inflorescence.
Habitat It grows along tidal rivers, and in open wet places, and swamp forests. It occurs locally in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are pollinated by insects.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed or division of the underground stem. Grows best in waterlogged soils that is rich in nutrients.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Fruit & Vegetable): The peeled leaf stalks (to remove spines) are edible and utilised as a curry flavouring.
Medicinal: The leaves are used for treating coughs, stomachaches, and other pains.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for planting on the edges of ponds and water bodies for its attractive inflorescence and leaves.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses Riverine, Pond / Lake / River, Marsh / Bog

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site, Does not Drain Site), Fertile Loamy Soils, Heavy Clay Soils
Propagation Method Seed, Division


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery, Spiny / Bristly / Stinging
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate, Rosulate / Rosette
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Margin Palmately Lobed
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, Green, Purple
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Spathe & Spadix

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Green
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Rough
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type

Image Repository



Master ID 892
Species ID 2186
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: 14 October 2021.