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Tabernaemontana divaricata


Tabernaemontana divaricata (L.) R.Br. ex Roem. & Schult.

Family Name: Apocynaceae
Synonyms: Tabernaemontana coronaria, Ervatamia divaricataTabernaemontana citrifoliaTabernaemontana discolor
Common Name: Pinwheel Flower, East Indian Rosebay, Moon Beam, Ceylon Jasmine, Susun Kelapa, Susoh Ayam, Crepe Jasmine, Crepe Gardenia, Adam's Apple, Nero's Crown, Coffee Rose, Jelutong Badak

Tabernaemontana divaricata (Pinwheel Flower) is an evergreen round shrub with large, glossy dark green leaves and waxy, white flowers. Its flower petals are twisted like pinwheels and are fragrant, especially at night.


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 0.5 m to 2 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 1 m to 1.8 m


Native Distribution Assam, Bangladesh, South-Central China, East and West Himalaya, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Small shrub with a broad surface, able to grow up to about 2 m tall.
Foliage Dark green, glossy leaves are oval with a wavy leaf margin, measuring about 15 cm long and 5 cm wide.
Stems Smooth stem
Flowers White and fragrant 5-petaled tubular flowers are shaped like pinwheels, petal tips are twisted to the left in a counterclockwise direction. Flowers are arranged in clusters known as cymes. Flower buds are oval-shaped.
Fruit Fruit is an inconspicuous dry and hard pod called follicles.
Others - Plant Morphology Plant exudes a milky latex when parts of it are broken.
Habitat Found in montane brushwoods and sparse forests.
Cultivation Plant flowers best when grown under full sun on well-drained, moist soils. Plants can be propagated via stem cuttings.
Etymology Genus Tabernaemontana is named after Jakob Theodor von Bergzaben (1520 - 1590) (Latinised surname Tabernaemontanus meaning "tavern in the mountain"), who was a German herbalist. Species divaricata means wide-spreading or divaricate. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: The roots, leaves and flowers are used in some parts of China for snake and scorpion poisoning.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping Commonly grown in landscapes for its ornamental pinwheel-shaped flowers and large glossy leaves. Plant is hardy and is free-flowering all year round, grown in container planting, as hedge or for general use in parks and gardens.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant
Landscape Uses Container Planting, Flowerbed / Border, General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly-Attracting, Moth Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow, Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Propagation Method Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Raised / Sunken Veins
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Spiral
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oval)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Apiculate
Foliar Base Attenuate
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Mature Bark Texture Smooth
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Stellate / Star-shaped, Tubular
Inflorescence Type Cyme
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Follicle


References Polunin, Ivan. 2010. Plants and Flowers of Singapore. Malaysia: Marshall Cavendish Editions .

Image Repository



Master ID 1195
Species ID 2488
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: 20 June 2024.