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Strobilanthes scabra


Strobilanthes scabra Nees

Family Name: Acanthaceae
Common Name: Black Face General, Pecah Kaca, Pecah Beling, Bayam Karang, Pecah Batu, Batu Jin, Keci Beling, 黑面将军


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
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 1.2 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 1 m


Native Distribution Assam, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Erect herbaceous plant, able to grow up to 1 m tall.
Foliage Dark green, shiny leaves are elliptic-oblong with a toothed leaf margin and rough texture (5-8 cm long, 2-5 cm wide). Leaves occur in pairs in opposite leaf arrangement.
Stems Stem near the branch tips is distinctly 4-sided. Immature bark is purplish, gradually turning brown at maturity.
Flowers Yellow, funnel-shaped flowers are arranged in a spike-like inflorescence with leafy bracts. They are seldom produced in cultivation. Flowers measure about 1.5 - 2 cm long.
Fruit Fruit is spindle in shape and measure about 11 cm long.
Similar This species resembles Strobilanthes cusia, but it has yellow flowers while those of S. cusia are purple. It can be distinguished from S. crispa based on the fact that bracts of S. scabra have glandular hairs, while those of S.crispa do not.
Etymology Genus Strobilanthes is derived from two Greek words  - "strobilos"which means cone and  "anthos" which means flower, and refers to the plant's inflorescence. Species scabra means coarse, rough, and refers to the leaves.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves

Scientific Evidence of Medicinal Properties

In pre-clinical trials, Black Face General showed anti-cancer (Al-Henhena et al., 2015), anti-diabetic (Fadzelly et al., 2006), antioxidant (Al-Henhena et al., 2015) and cholesterol-lowering properties (Fadzelly et al., 2006) in animals.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

Research supports the traditional use of Black Face General to treat cancer and diabetes. Other traditional uses include treating jaundice, haemorrhoids and ulcers.

It is important to note that some therapeutic effects from traditional medicinal uses of plants are not currently supported or verified by scientific research. 

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses Container Planting, Parks & Gardens
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Rough, Scaly
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oval, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate, Crenate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Cuneate
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Funnelform / Funnel-shaped
Flowering Period Rarely
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Image Repository



Master ID 1186
Species ID 2479
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: 07 February 2024.