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Platostoma palustre (Blume) A.J.Paton

Family Name: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Synonyms: Mesona procumbens, Mesona chinensis
Common Name: Hsian-tsao, Chin Chow, Cincau, 涼粉草, 仙草
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Herb & Spice Ornamental Flowers Herbaceous

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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 15 cm to 100 cm

Biogeography

Native Distribution India, Myanmar, Indochina
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial herb with trailing stems that are 15-100 cm long.
Foliage Leaves are narrowly ovate (egg-shaped) to almost circular (2-5 cm long, 0.8-2.8 cm wide).
Stems The stems may be hairless, pilose (covered in soft hairs) or finely bristly (covered in short, stiff hairs).
Flowers White, reddish or light blue to purplish flowers (3 mm long) are arranged in verticillasters (a whorl-like inflorescence where flowers appear to surround the stem). The verticillasters are arranged in branched clusters known as panicles. The panicles are either erect or pointed upwards at an oblique angle.
Fruits Black, elongated fruits are known as nutlets.
Cultivation Cincau requires moist, but well-drained soil, and it is sensitive to drought.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice : Leaves has been used to make jelly desserts and beverages by the Chinese for centuries. In Singapore, the dried leaves and shoots are sold in Chinese medical halls. Grass Jelly, a popular local dessert, is prepared by boiling the dried shoots in water with sugar and agar and allowing the strained liquid to set. Grass Jelly or Cincau Tea is thought to have a cooling effect on the body.  )
Medicinal ( Plant extracts have strong antioxidant activity, according to a lab-based study by Yen et al. (2003). In Chinese folk medicine, the plant is used as a herbal medicine for liver disease, hypertension, diabetes and joint pain.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils
Landscape Uses Groundcover

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Tip, Herbaceous)

Foliar

Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Velvety / Furry / Tomentose, Spiny / Bristly / Stinging
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Orbicular / Round)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Obtuse
Foliar Base Cuneate, Rounded / Obtuse

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Purple, Red, White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Individual Flower Shape Labiate / Lipped
Flower Size - Length 3 mm
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Inflorescence Type Remarks Verticillasters arranged in panicles.

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Master ID 30545
Species ID 4854
Species record last updated on: 17 May 2019.
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