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Acanthus volubilis Wall.

Family Name: Acanthaceae
Common Name: Jeruju
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Lots of Water Native to Singapore Coastal Hanging Basket Ornamental Flowers Ornamental Foliage Woody


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 Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Southeast Asia including Singapore, Eastern India, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea
Native Habitat Shoreline (Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Semi-erect to climbing plant, has thin, dark-green, smooth stems, 4 - 8 m in height. 
Roots Tap root system and sometimes the base of the stem is supported by slender stilt-roots arising from basal nodes.
Foliage Leaf blades are smooth, entire or slightly lobed, usually without spines, fleshy to leathery, oblong-lanceolate, measuring 2.5 - 5 by 7 - 9 cm and have a blunt tip. Simple, opposite leaves with a leaf stalk about 1.0 cm long, slightly flattened and green. 
Flowers Flowers occur in nearly arranged long spike, 10 - 12 cm in length, located at the ends of branches. Petals are white and turn brown when older. Flowers measure 1.9 - 2.5 cm in length, 4 sepals of mixed sized, green, smooth, leathery, curved and pointed; petals number 5, fused to form a single plate, and the base is fused, forming a hollow, short tube, while the point flattened to form 5 short 2-lipped lobes.
Fruits Rarely formed, consists of a capsule about 2.5 cm long, ellipsoid and flattened.
Habitat Found in back mangrove forest and waterlogged areas.
Etymology Acanthus is derived from the Greek word akanthos, and akanthos is derived from ake which means "point or thorn", and anthos which means "flower".
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( In Malay culture, powdered seeds are taken with water as a blood cleansing medicine against ulcers.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils, Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Coastal, Beachfront / Shoreline, Hedge / Screening, Riverine, Hanging Basket

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal


References Yong J, Tan PY, Nor Hafiz Hassan, Tan SN. 2010. A Selection of Plants for Greening of Waterways and Waterbodies in the Tropics. Singapore: Chung Printing . 480 pp.

Image Repository



Master ID 32121
Species ID 6527
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.