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Gynura bicolor DC.

Family Name: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Common Name: Velvet Plant, Kinjiso, Okinawan Spinach, Redflower Ragleaf, Fireweed, 紅鳳菜, 紫背天葵
Semi-Shade Moderate Water Fruit & Vegetable Ornamental Foliage Herbaceous


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
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 1 m


Native Distribution South and East Asia

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Annual or perennial herb up to 1 m tall.
Foliage The light green, fleshy leaves (15 cm long) have a reddish purple underside, are covered in soft, short hairs and have a 0.3-3 cm long petiole (leaf stalk). The lower leaves are purple, while the young, upper leaves are green.
Stems The hairless, ribbed stem may be red, purple or green.
Flowers The thistle-like, compound flower is a cylindrical head (1.3-1.6 cm long, 0.5-0.6 cm wide) composed of yellow or orange, tubular florets.
Fruits The dry, one-seeded fruit is known as an achene (3-4 mm long). The dark purple fruit is hairy. 
Cultivation In Singapore, Gynura bicolor needs protection from hot afternoon sun and can be grown under a shade cloth. It should be grown in well-drained, loamy soil and is sensitive to waterlogged soils. The leaves are ready to harvest after 35-40 days. When the plant reaches 20-25 cm tall, you can harvest the upper leaves (those >8-10 cm aboveground) every 1-2 weeks for 40-50 days. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Leaves)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Leaves and young shoots are eaten in stews, soups and stir-fries. They are rich in iron and a good source of beta-carotene and calcium.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Stem Cutting


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Purple
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Obovate, Elliptical, Spathulate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Attenuate

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Brown, Orange, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Head / Capitulum

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Purple
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Indehiscent Dry Fruit
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)

Image Repository



Master ID 29775
Species ID 4084
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.