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Breynia androgyna


Breynia androgyna (L.) Chakrab. & N.P.Balakr.

Family Name: Phyllanthaceae
Synonyms: Sauropus androgynus, Sauropus albicans 
Common Name: Cekur Manis, Chekur Manis, Cekuk Manis, Sayur Manis, Pucuk Manis, Star Gooseberry, Sweet Leaf Bush, Katuk, 马尼菜, 守宫木

Cekur Manis is a shrub often eaten as a vegetable which can be found in Singapore's local markets. Its young shoots and leaves can be stir-fried or boiled in soup. It is also grown for its ornamental silvery leaf and fruit that resemble tiny mangosteen fruit.


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 2 m to 5 m


Native Distribution Tropical and Subtropical Asia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Monsoon Forest, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Riverine, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Shrub, up to 5 m tall as a wild understorey forest plant, but normally kept to around 2 m under cultivation.
Foliage Ovate to elliptic leaves (1.8-9.5 cm long, 0.6-4 cm wide) have short, 2-3 mm long petioles.
Stems Stems vertical, somewhat woody.
Flowers Male and female flowers lack petals and occur on the same plant in the leaf axils. Female flowers have 6 red sepals surrounding a single cream-coloured pistil, while male flowers have 6 cream-coloured sepals enclosing 3 reddish stamens.
Fruits Small, white fruit shaped like a mangosteen (12-17 mm long, 9-15 mm wide) turns maroon at maturity and releases white or black seeds by explosive dehiscence.
Habitat It can be found in forests, near rivers, and open habitats up to 1,500 m above sea level. It can be found in Pulau Ubin.
Cultivation Cekur Manis grows well in semi-shade or full sun, but it will produce more leaves under semi-shade. Regular pruning, frequent harvesting of the leaves and regular feeding with a nitrogen rich fertiliser will stimulate the plant to produce more leaves. It grows best in acidic (pH 6-7), well-drained soil that is kept moist, but it will also tolerate heavy clay soil. In general, it is easy to grow with few pest and disease problems, but can occasionally be attacked by beetles. It is often propagated by stem cuttings which root easily.
Etymology The genus Breynia is named after 17th century Polish botanists Jacob Breyne and his son Johann Philipp Breyne. The specific epithet androgyna is a Latin word referring to the presence of male and female flowers on the same plant.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Leaves, Edible Fruits, Edible Flowers, Edible Stems)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : In South and Southeast Asia, the leaves, stems, flowers and immature fruit are eaten as a vegetable after cooking, such as by stir-frying, boiling or steaming. Its taste has been compared to spinach, garden peas and asparagus. The plant is rich in nutrients, such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. However, the plant should only be eaten after thorough cooking and as part of a varied and well-balanced diet. (Warning: Consumption of its raw plant parts, such as adding them to salads and smoothies, could lead to serious and permanent lung damage or even death. Plant parts are safe for consumption after thorough cooking.))
Medicinal (

In South Asia, Southeast Asia and China, the plant is used in traditional medicine to treat a wide range of ailments including cough, fever, hypertension, diabetes, vision loss and diseases of the gastrointestinal and urinary systems. It is also used to promote lactation, weight loss and wound healing (Zhang et al., 2020). Some of these medical uses are supported by laboratory studies which have linked the plant's rich and diverse range of bioactive compounds to medicinally useful properties, such as anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory activity (Bunawan et al., 2015). However, it is important to note that there are compounds present in the raw plant that have led to damage to lung tissues and even death in people. More research is required to understand how the plant's medicinally useful compounds can be extracted and separated from other potentially harmful compounds in the plant.


Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Heavy Clay Soils, Acidic (low pH) Soils, Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses Hedge / Screening
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden
SGMP Treatment
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks The plant must be thoroughly cooked before it is safe for consumption. 

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water, Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Transplanting Tolerance Good
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting
Propagule Establishment Remarks Stem cuttings root easily.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Silver / Grey
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Papery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse, Truncate / Square
Typical Foliar Area Nanophyll ( 0.25cm2 - 2.25 cm2 ), Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 ), Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )
Typical Foliar Size From 1.8
Typical Foliar Size To 9.5
Typical Foliar Size Unit cm
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) Red, Cream / Off-White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Red, Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule



Bunawan, H. et al. (2015). Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr. induced bronchiolitis obliterans: from botanical studies to toxicology. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015: Article 714158, 7 pages.

Khoo, H.E. et al. (2015). Sauropus androgynus leaves for health benefits: hype and the science. The Natural Products Journal 5: 115-123.

Zhang, B.D. et al. (2020). Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr.- A phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 257: Article 112778, 13 pages.


Image Repository



Master ID 1134
Species ID 2427
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 August 2022.