Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC.

Last updated: 16 April 2015

Scientific Name

Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC.


Biophytum bequaertii De Wild., Biophytum bogoroense De Wild., Biophytum candolleanum Wight, Biophytum cumingianum (Turcz.) Edgew. & Hook.f., Biophytum cumingii Klotzsch, Biophytum homblei De Wild., Biophytum nervifolium Thwaites, Biophytum poterioides Edgew. & Hook.f., Biophytum sesbanioides Edgew. & Hook.f., Biophytum somnulentum Goebel, Oxalis sensitiva L. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Life plant, Little tree plant [2]
China Gan ying cao , he cao, Xiu li cao [2]
India Anjalikari, mukuti, tintanazi, lajjalu, lajalu, toddavaddi, totta-vatti [5]
Indonesia Daun kucingan (Sumatra); krambilan (Javanese); kurang-kurang (Moluccas) [2][3]; inja paying, turu-lare ( Javanese); shirput, kala paan, ki paying [4]
Thailand Chi yop tontaan (Northern); krathuep yop, khan rom [2] [3], mai yarap [4]
Laos Dok han [2][3]
Philippines Damong-bingkalat (Taga­log); damon-huya (Bisaya); mahihiin (Iloko) [2]
Vietnam L[as] chue me, chua me l[as] me, ta lang [2][3]
Nepal Nagbeli [2].

Geographical Distributions

Biophytum sensitivum is widely distributed in the Indo-Malesian tropics, common throughout Malesia, but not yet recorded in New Guinea. This plant occurs in shady localities, in waste lands, along riverbanks and under humid thickets up to 250 m altitude. [2]

Botanical Description

B. sensitivum is a member of the family Oxalidaceae [1]. It is an annual herb, which can grow up to 35 cm tall [2].

The stem is simple and smooth. [2]

The leaves are 7-12(-14)-jugate, with 5-10(-16.5) cm long rachis, sensitive to touch and ply downwards. The terminal leaflets are sickle-shaped-obovate, measure 8-18 mm x 3-10 mm, asymmetrical and with excentric midrib while the other leaflets are elliptical, symmetrical, truncate at base and hairless. [2]

The peduncle of the flower is up to 14 cm long, up to 10-flowered and hairy glandular. The pedicel is 1.5-3.5 mm long, with 4-7 mm long ovate-lance-shaped sepal, acute, strigose and hairy glandular. The petals are lance-shaped, measure 5-7 mm x 1-2 mm, truncate, yellow but sometimes with purplish lines, tristylous, with 0.5-1 mm long styles in the middle, often clasping the anthers of the longer filaments and tearing them off. Its capsule measures 3-4 mm x 2 mm, apically hairy and minutely glandular-hairy on the ribs. [2]

The seeds are 0-3 per cell, with a size of 1 mm x 0.8 mm, transversely tubercled and ridged. [2]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of B. sensitivum (L.) DC.[2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 Apr 16]. Available from:
  2. Chung RCK. Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher; 2001. p. 111.
  3. Philippines medicinal plants. Damong-bingkalat. Biophytum sensitivum (Linn.) DC.[homepage on the Internet]. c2014 [updated 2013 Aug; cited 2015 Apr 16] Available from
  4. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p.111.
  5. Umberto Q. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology, Volume 1. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1999. p.304.