Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Hedyotis diffusa


Hedyotis diffusa Willd.

Family Name: Rubiaceae
Synonyms: Oldenlandia diffusa (Willd.) Roxb.
Common Name: Snake-needle grass, 白花蛇舌草


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 Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Pantropical
Native Habitat Terrestrial

Description and Ethnobotany

Similar This species looks similar to Hedyotis corymbosa . Hedyotis corymbosa has 2-8 inflorescences (usually 3) each borne on a stalk in the leaf axils. The inflorescence stalk or peduncle is 8-15mm long, while the small stalk that attaches a single flower to the main stem of inflorescence (pedicel) is 4-8mm long. Hedyotis diffusa flower are solitary or paired in the leaf axils with very short or no peduncle.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb or Spice)
Medicinal: Hedyotis diffusa has been used by the Chinese to treat colorectal cancer. A study report from Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS concluded "the ethanol extract of the herb effectively evoked cancer cell apoptosis." Besides that, it also has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-viral and immune system-boosting properties. One of the most common products made from this plant species is known as Oldenlandia water.

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Groundcover

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow
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
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: 06 July 2024.