Ruellia repens L.

Last updated: 19 May 2015

Scientific Name

Ruellia repens L.


Dipteracanthus repens (L.) Hassk., Dipteracanthus lanceolatus Nees [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Akar keremak, deras malam, rumput halyor (Peninsular) [2]
Indonesia Plinten, remah, sekatan (Java) [2]
Thailand Chaa horn, faa maeng (Nakhon Ratchasima) [2]
Vietnam qu[ar] n[oor] b[of], song d[uwj]c [2]

Geographical Distributions

Ruellia repens is widely distributed in India, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, Southern China, Taiwan, Thailand and throughout the Malaysian region except New Guinea. This plant occurs in moderately shaded, often grassy localities, in roadsides, brushwood, sometimes in abandoned fields, up to 700 m altitude. [2]

Botanical Description

D. repens comes from the Acanthaceae family. It is an erect or ascending herb which can grow up to 70 cm tall, with subquadrangular and finely hairy or smooth stem thickened above the nodes. [2]

The leaves are arranged opposite, simple and entire, ovate to ovate-lance-shaped or linear-lance-shaped, 1.5-10 cm x 0.5-3 cm, rounded to acute at base, obtuse to acuminate at apex, sparingly hairy and with cystoliths. Transverse ridges connect the petioles while stipules are absent. [2]

The flowers are solitary in the leaf-axils, bisexual, 5-merous and subsessile. The bracteoles are ovate or ovate-oblong and 1-2 cm long. Sepal is about 4 mm long, lance-shaped to narrowly triangular and subequal segments. The petal is about 2 cm long, bell-shaped with narrow base, subequally lobed with ovate-suborbicular lobes and separated by convexities, violet to white and hairy. There are 4 stamens that are inserted at the base of petal tube, didynamous but not exserted. The ovary is superior with 2-celled, subulate style and hairy with 2 unequal stigmatic lobes. [2]

The 1-1.5 cm long fruit is club-shaped capsule with many-seeded. [2]

The seeds are orbicular, compressed and ringed with hygroscopic hairs. [2] 


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Chemical Constituent

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Plant Part Used

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Traditional Use

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Preclinical Data

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Clinical Data

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Poisonous Management

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Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of Dipteracanthus repens (L.) Hassk. (synonym of R. repens L.) [2]


  1. Ruellia repens L. [homepage on the Internet]. St. Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden; c2015 [cited 2015 May 19]. Available from:
  2. Dipteracanthus repens (L.) Hassk. In: Lemmens RHMJ, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia 12 (3): Medicinal and Poisonous Plants 3. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publication; 2003.