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Helicteres isora L.

Family Name: Malvaceae
Synonyms: Helicteres macrophyllaHelicteres grewiifolia
Common Name: Indian Screw Tree, Chabai Tali, Kayu Ulas, Avartani
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Fragrant Ornamental Flowers Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Woody)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution China (Southern Yunnan) to Tropical Asia.
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Exotic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A shrub to a small tree, growing to 4 m tall (sometimes up to 8 m) with screw-shaped fruits, hence the common name.
Foliage Leaves are simple, round to obovate, petiolate (up to 4 cm long), margin serrate, leaf blade has palmate venation (3 - 5 veins), densely covered with hairs on both sides.
Stems The bark is lenticellate and finely wrinkled. The young stem is covered with long yellowish hairs.
Flowers Fragrant bright red flowers borne in inflorescences called cymes.
Fruits Fruit has 5 twisted follicles (screw-shaped) with each follicle consisting of 20 - 25 dark brown seeds.
Habitat Generally grown in evergreen forest and secondary jungle, including roadsides and forest edges.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Flowers), Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Stem Cutting, Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate)
Foliar Venation Palmate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate, Rounded
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Red
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Asymmetrical
Inflorescence Type Cyme
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Opening Time Daytime
Flower Lifespan on Plant 2 - 3 days

Image Repository



Master ID 33933
Species ID 8349
Species record last updated on: 30 June 2020.