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Mucuna biplicata


Mucuna biplicata Teijsm. & Binn. ex Kurz

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common Name: Two-fold Velvet Bean

Two-fold Velvet Bean (Mucuna biplicata) is a woody vine with twining stems. It produces winged seed pods with red bristles and and dark purple flowers.


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 Climber
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Borneo, Cambodia, Malaya, Singapore, Sumatra.
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Woody vine
Foliage Leaves are alternately arranged along the stem. Leaf is pinnately trifoliolate with long leaflet tips, glabrous on the upper surface and very sparsely hairy below; terminal leaflet broadly elliptic with rounded base, while the lateral leaflets asymmetrical. Stipules are lanceolate and hairy about 1.5 mm long and early caducous (fall off early). Petioles are 6 - 11 cm long, smooth to sparsely pubescent (fine short hairs) at the pulvinus.
Stems Glabrous stem (smooth stem)
Flowers Inflorescences are axillary on leafless branches, pendulous, measuring 4.,5 - 7 cm long with 5-6 short branches. Bracts and bracteole fall off very early (not seen, only scars are observed). Calyx is campanulate, cup-shaped of 10 mm long and 4 cm across when in buds. Each flower has 4 calyx lobes, dark purple corolla, about 2.5 x 2.2 cm.
Fruit Fruit pod, leathery, oblong with rounded apex and base, measuring 5-7.5 cm long and 3-3.5 cm wide, about 1.5cm thick. Fruit pod is flattened, winged and not swollen around the seeds. Mature pod has abundant reddish-brown irritant bristles.
Habitat In Singapore, it is found along the canal banks that was formerly a natural river. The species is likely to be dispersed by running water judging from its affinity with streams and riverbanks.
Etymology The specific epithet "biplicata" is Latin which means two and folded lengthwise, referring to the bifurcating pod lamellae.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This climbing vine has ornamental deep purple flowers and red fruit pods, and can be trained on trellises.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses Trellis / Arbour / Pergola
Usage Hazard - Cons Irritant - Hairs

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Water)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Compound (Trifoliate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Caudate
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

, Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) Purple
Flower Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Bilateral
Individual Flower Shape Papilionaceous / Pea-shaped


References Ho, B.C. & Lua, H.K. (2022). Flora of Singapore precursors, 32: Discoveries in Mucuna (Leguminosae, subfamily Papilionoideae) with a review of the genus in Singapore. Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 74(1): 37-55.

Image Repository



Master ID 30706
Species ID 5018
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: 12 June 2024.