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Dischidia major (Vahl) Merr.

Family Name: Apocynaceae
Synonyms: Acokanthera , Dischidia rafflesiana Wall.
Common Name: 玉荷包
Full Sun Semi Shade Moderate Water Native to Singapore Coastal Plant Suitable for Hanging Baskets Ornamental Leaves Shallow Media Climber, Vine and Liana Epiphyte


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana, Epiphyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Northeast India, Myanmar, Indochina, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi, the Moluccas, New Guinea, and Australia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Coastal Forest), Shoreline (Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Common)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Twining epiphyte, associated with ants.
Foliage Its latex-containing, opposite leaves have two forms of leaf blades. The smaller leaf blades are flat, rounded, and 2–3 by 1.5–2 cm, adpressed to the host tree or supporting structure. . The other form is oblong, pouch-like, yellowish-green outside, purple inside, and 6–12 by 2–4 cm. This is often inhabited by ants.
Flowers Its flowers are yellow-green, or striped yellow and green, have tubes 6–8 by 3–4 mm, and develop in clusters of 1–6 flowers.
Fruits Its yellow-green fruits are follicles that split open at one side when mature and about 5 by 0.5cm.
Habitat It usually grows on trees along the coasts up to 1,000 m altitude, and in grassland at 800 m altitude. It occurs locally in Changi, Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin.
Associated Fauna In Malaysia, associated with ants from the genus Philidris.
Etymology Greek dis, two; Greek askidion, ascidium, alluding to the leaves which may or may not develop into pouches; Latin major, larger, the reference to which is unknown
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( Its roots are chewed with betel to treat cough.)
Cultural / Religious ( Along with Dischidia pectinoides, another species with modified leaves, this species has become increasingly popular with Chinese growers in recent years. The purse like leaves of these two species are believed to bring wealth and prosperity to their growers.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It may be suitable for parks and roadsides.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Shallow Media (8 -10cm), Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Coastal, Beachfront / Shoreline, Container Planting, Hanging Basket
Thematic Landscaping Bird & Wildlife Garden
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Avoid contact with milky/ white sap as it may cause skin irritation in certain individuals. Keep plants away from children and pets as sap could be toxic. Modified leaves may also invite ants.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Pest(s) Sucking Insects
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Herbaceous)


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Yellow / Golden

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Green, Yellow / Golden

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Green, Yellow / Golden
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Follicle

Image Repository



Master ID 30911
Species ID 5288
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: 20 August 2021.