Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Centella asiatica


Centella asiatica (L.) Urb.

Family Name: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Synonyms: Hydrocotyle asiatica L.
Common Name: Indian Pennywort, Asiatic Pennywort, Gotu Kola, Spadeleaf, 积雪草, 崩大碗


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Aquatic & Hydrophyte (Waterside / Marginal), Herbaceous Plant, Creeper
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.2 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 1 m


Native Distribution Caucasus, Tropical and Subtropical Old World to Eastern Australia and West Pacific
Native Habitat Aquatic (Freshwater Pond / Lake / River)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial herb with a creeping growth habit.
Foliage Bean-shaped leaves have a crenate leaf margin (leaf edge with rounded teeth).
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Fruit & Vegetable) (Herb and Spice)

Scientific Evidence of Medicinal Properties

In pre-clinical trials, Indian Pennywort showed pain-relieving <6>, anti-cancer <3>, anti-diabetic <1>, anti-inflammation <6>, antioxidant <8> and cholesterol-lowering properties <1> and anti-malarial properties <4> in animals.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

Research supports the traditional use of Indian Pennywort to treat wounds, burns, sores and skin diseases, such as leprosy. Other traditional uses include using it to improve appetite and digestion.

It is important to note that some therapeutic effects from traditional medicinal uses of plants are not currently supported or verified by scientific research. 

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stolon / Runner


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Rosulate / Rosette
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Orbicular / Round, Reniform)
Foliar Venation Palmate
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded
Foliar Base Cordate

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Size - Remarks Less than 3mm
Inflorescence Type Umbel
Flower Colour(s) Remarks Light Purple, Light Pink



<1> Emran, T.B., Dutta, M., Uddin, M.M.N, Nath, A.K. & Uddin, M.Z. (2015). Antidiabetic potential of the leaf extract of Centella asiatica in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Jahangirnagar University Journal of Biological Science 4(1): 51–59.

<2> Gohil K.J., Patel J.A., Gajjar A.K. & Maity, T.K. (2010). Pharmacological review on Centella asiatica: A potential herbal cure-all. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 72(5): 546–556.

<3> Hamid, I.S., Widjaja, N.M.R. & Damayanti, R. (2016). Anticancer activity of Centella asiatica leaves extract in benzo(a)pyrene-induced mice. International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research 8(1): 80–84.

<4> Mavondo, G.A., Mkhwananzi, B.N., Mabandla, M.V. & Musabayabe, C.T. (2016). Asiatic acid influences parasitaemia reduction and ameliorates malaria anaemia in P. berghei infected Sprague-Dawley male rats. BMC Complement Altern Med 16(1): 357-367.

<5> Prasesti, G.K. & Kurniati, N.F. (2022). Toxicity studies of Centella asiatica for drug development: Mini review. Biointerface Research in Applied Chemistry 12(6): 8081-8093.

<6> Saha, S., Guria, T., Singha, T. & Maity, T.K. (2013). Evaluation of analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of chloroform and methanol extracts of Centella asiatica Linn.  ISRN Pharmacology Article ID 789613

<7> Shukurova, M.K., Myint, D., Yi, S.S., Saw, O.M. & Watanabe, K.N. (2021). Morphological description and ethnobotanical review of the orphan crop Myin-Hkwa (Centella asiatica L.) from Myanmar. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems Volume 5, Article ID 680862.   

<8> Zhao, Y., Shu, P., Zhang, Y.Z., Lin, L.M., Zhou, H.H., Xu, Z.T., Suo, D.Q., Xie, A.Z. & Jin, X. (2014). Effect of Centella asiatica on oxidative stress and lipid metabolism in hyperlipidemic animal models Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity Article ID 154295.

<9> Zheng, H.M., Choi, M.J., Kim, J.M., Lee, K.W., Park, Y.H. & Lee, D.H. (2016). In vitro and in vivo Anti-Helicobacter pylori activities of Centella asiatica leaf extract. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science 21(3): 197–201.


Image Repository



Master ID 30961
Species ID 5347
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: 27 September 2023.