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Tetrastigma leucostaphylum


Tetrastigma leucostaphylum (Dennst.) Alston

Family Name: Vitaceae
Synonyms: Tetrastigma rafflesiae auct. non (Miq.) Planch. <1>


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and Java
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a woody climber.
Foliage Its spirally arranged, stalked leaves bear 3–7 stalked leaflets. The terminal leaflet is lance-shaped and 14–21 by 4–9.5 cm, while the lateral leaflet is lance-shaped and 6–14 by 2.5–6.5 cm. Both the leaflet types have toothed margins.
Flowers The plant is dioecious with male and female flowers borne on separate plants. Its stalked flowering shoot bears male flowers that are up to 2 mm long, and female flowers that are up to 5 mm long.
Fruit Its fruits are round berries, 15–20 mm wide, and contain 1–2 seeds each. Its seeds are oblong and up to 12 by 6 mm.
Habitat It grows on the fringe of lowland dipterocarp forests. It occurs locally at Nee Soon Swamp Forest.
Associated Flora It is the host plant on which Rafflesia species parasitise on. The flower buds of Rafflesia species could be seen along the stems of infected plants. These buds eventually mature and bloom into one of the world's largest flowers. Rafflesia hassletii is known to parasitise this species.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are pollinated by bees, and its fruits and seeds may be eaten and dispersed by birds. 
Taxonomy Plants in forests or natural areas of Singapore thought to be Tetrastigma rafflesia are now known to be Tetrastigma leucostaphylum.
Cultivation It can be propagated from seed or stem cuttings.
Etymology Greek tetra, four; Latin stigma, mark, referring to the 4-lobed stigma; Greek leukos, white; Greek staphyle, a bunch of grapes, the reference to the fruits.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: A poultice made from the leaves is used for boils and ague.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It may be suitable for parks, for growing on trellises and pergolas.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Trellis / Arbour / Pergola

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting (Fruits)
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Transplanting Tolerance Good
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Compound (Trifoliate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Dioecious
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Symmetry Radial

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Non-Accessory Fruit



<1> Veldkamp, J.F.. (2008). The correct name for the Tetrastigma (Vitaceae) Host of Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae) in Malesia and a (not so) new species. Reinwardtia 12(4): 261–265.

<2> Lindsay, S. et al. (2022). Flora of Singapore: Checklist and bibliography. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 74(Suppl. 1): 3–860.

Image Repository



Master ID 31547
Species ID 5946
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: 23 March 2023.