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Phyla nodiflora


Phyla nodiflora (L.) Greene

Family Name: Verbenaceae
Synonyms: Phyla nodiflora var. repens, Lippia nodiflora var. reptans, Phyla nodiflora var. incisa, Lippia nodiflora, Phyla nodiflora var. longifolia, Phyla incisa, Lippia reptans, Phyla nodiflora var. nodiflora, Phyla nodiflora var. rosea
Common Name: Texas Frogfruit, Sawtooth Frog-fruit, Lippia, Common Lippia, Matchweed, Creeping Lip Plant, Spatulate-leaved Frog-fruit, Weighty Frog-fruit, Wedge-leaf, Turkey-tangle, Turkey-tangle Fogfruit, Frogfruit, Capeweed, Matgrass, 过江藤, 鸭舌, 鸭舌癀, 鸭嘴黄


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant, Creeper
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 0.1 m to 0.3 m


Native Distribution USA
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Riverine)
Preferred Climate Zone Temperate
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Naturalised))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A perennial herb with spreading growth form, growing to about 15 cm tall.
Foliage Leaves green, ovate or oblanceolate with serrate leaf margin from the middle to the tip of the leaf. Leaves have opposite arrangement. 
Stems The stem can be up to 0.9 m long. It becomes woody at the base as it matures. The stem is mostly yellow-green, but reddish brown near the tip and leaf nodes. 
Flowers A ring of small, white to pink, bi-labiate flowers (having 2 lips, 3 mm wide) surround a purple ovoid flowering head (1 - 3 cm long) near the top. The inflorescence occurs on a green to red-brown floral stalk. 
Fruit Produces capsules that break up into nutlets which are small, indehiscent, dry fruits. 
Habitat Occurs in wetlands, wet prairies and near rivers at altitudes of 0 - 400 m. Also becomes established in disturbed areas with moist soil (ponds, paddy fields, ditches, brackish water). 
Cultivation Although this plant prefers moist soil, a mature plant can withstand short periods of drought. Able to grow in poorly drained or nutrient poor soils, but not saline soils. However, it can tolerate salt spray. 
Etymology The genus name "Phyla" is Greek for clan or tribe. It refers to how species in this genus often have many flowers that occur in tight clusters. The species epithet "nodiflora" is Latin for a term that means that flowers emerge from nodes. The common name "Matchweed" comes from the fact that the floral stalk and inflorescence together resemble a match.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb or Spice)
Medicinal: Traditionally, the plant has been used to treat constipation and knee pain. Leaves and immature stalks are used to make infusions that are administered to children with indigestion or women that have recently delivered a baby. A paste produced from the plant is also applied to boils and ulcers. Freshly pressed juice from the leaves is used on gums to stop bleeding. 
Others: Leaves can be fed to cattle.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping Excellent groundcover that can withstand both drought and flooding. However, care must be taken to restrain its growth, because it can overtake lawns or gardens due to its fast growth rate. Also good for hanging baskets. May be planted next to water gardens. 
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses General, Turf / Lawn / Sports Field, Groundcover, Container Planting, Suitable for Hanging Baskets
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Can tolerate salt spray, but not saline soil.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water, Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site)
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded
Foliar Base Cuneate
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Bilateral
Individual Flower Shape Labiate / Lipped
Flower Size - Remarks 3 mm wide
Inflorescence Type Spike
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 29407
Species ID 3716
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 August 2022.