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Achyranthes aspera


Achyranthes aspera L.

Family Name: Amaranthaceae
Common Name: Devil's Horsewhip, 土牛膝


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.2 m to 1.2 m


Native Distribution Tropical & Subtropical Africa and Asia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Cryptogenic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial herb up to 1.2 m tall.
Foliage Green, papery leaves (1.5-7 cm long, 0.4-4 cm wide) are broadly obovate (egg-shaped) or elliptic-oblong (oval-elongated). They are hairy on both sides.
Stems Stems are 4-sided and covered in short hairs.
Flowers Flowers are arranged in a 10-30 cm long spike inflorescence which is initially erect, but later bends backwards after the flowers bloom.
Fruits Dry, indehiscent fruit known as a utricle is bladder-like and covered by loose, papery tissue. Each egg-shaped fruit (2.5-3 mm long) contains 1 brown, egg-shaped seed (2 mm long).
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Leaves, Edible Seeds)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : The leaves and seeds are eaten cooked.)
Medicinal ( In folk medicine, the plant is used to treat asthma and cough. It is one of the most important medicinal herbs in Nepal. The whole plant is used medicinally, but the roots are generally considered to be more effective. A decoction of crushed plant material is taken to treat pneumonia. Infusion of the root is a mild astringent in bowel complaints. The flowering spikes or seeds are applied externally to treat snake bites. In India and Nepal, ashes from burning the plant are mixed with mustard oil and salt and used to clean teeth. The stem of the plant is stripped of thorns and then used as a toothbrush. The infusion of the twig is used as a gargle for toothaches. Roots are used to treat cancer and indigestion.)

Landscaping Features

Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses General, Flowerbed / Border
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Young Flush Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Margin Entire

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Green
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Spike



Image Repository



Master ID 31568
Species ID 5967
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: 05 August 2022.