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Euphorbia hirta


Euphorbia hirta L.

Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
Synonyms: Euphorbia pilulifera
Common Name: Hairy Spurge, Ara Tanah, Asthma Weed, snake weed, 飞扬草, 脚癣草


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Name Status (wrt SBG BG-BASE)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Maximum Height 40 cm


Native Distribution India & most tropical countries
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Herb up to 0.3 m tall is usually erect, but sometimes almost horizontal.
Foliage Oblong, paired leaves are green with purplish tints along a toothed leaf margin. When plants grow in nutrient poor soils, the leaves turn red.
Stems Red, round stems are lined with long, white hairs.
Flowers The light pink, round, button-like structure that occurs between the leaf pairs is a cluster of inflorescences that resemble tiny flowers. A single inflorescence is composed of one female flower surrounded by about 4 male flowers, all of which lack petals. The flowers are surrounded by 4 round bracts which look like petals.
Fruit Dry, dehiscent fruits are known as capsules.
Cultivation This species is commonly found as a weed along roadsides and in gardens and waste areas.
Etymology The species epithet 'hirta' is Latin for hairy and refers to the hairy stem.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb or Spice)
Medicinal: All parts of E. hirta can be used fresh or dried. It is an important medicinal herb used traditional for gastrointestinal disorders, bronchial and respiratory diseases(asthma, bronchitis, etc). The stem sap is used in the treatment of eyelid styes and a leaf poultice is used on swelling and boils.
Others: The plant can grow well in almost all types of habitat but cannot grow properly in polluted area. So it can also be taken as a pollution indicator of diverse habitats.

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border, Groundcover, Container Planting
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks It can grow in almost any type of soil.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow
Diseases The plant is a host to many fungal pathogens and host to several insect vectors which can infect nearby susceptible crops.
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Tip, Herbaceous)
Seed / Spore Germination Rate 93%


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate)
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Cuneate, Attenuate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Purple, White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary, Terminal
Inflorescence Type Cyme
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Mature Seed Colour(s) Brown
Mature Seed Texture(s) Wrinkled
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)

Image Repository



Master ID 707
Species ID 5211
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: 02 February 2023.