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Hedyotis diffusa Willd.

Family Name: Rubiaceae
Synonyms: Oldenlandia diffusa (Willd.) Roxb.
Common Name: Snake-needle grass, 白花蛇舌草
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Herb & Spice Ornamental Foliage Woody Herbaceous


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Herbaceous)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Pantropical
Native Habitat Terrestrial

Description and Ethnobotany

Similar Looks similar to Oldenlandia corymbosa O. corymbosa has inflorescences (2-8, usually 3) in axillary with peduncle (stalk of an inflorescence) 8-15mm long and pedicel (small stalk that attaches single flower to the main stem of inflorescence) 4-8mm long. O. diffusa flower grows solitary or in pairs in axillary with very short or no peduncle.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice)
Medicinal ( Oldenlandia diffusa has been used by the Chinese for medicinal purpose for the treatment of colorectal cancer. A study report from Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine,NUS concluded "the ethanol extract of the herb effectively evoke cancer cell apoptosis." Besides that, it also has the function of anti-bacteria, anti-inflammation,anti-tumor,anti-virus and enhances immune system. One of most common product is oldenlandia water.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses Groundcover

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Sessile
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Solitary, Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary

Image Repository



Master ID 769
Species ID 5248
Species record last updated on: 22 January 2020.