Lawsonia inermis L.

Last updated: 23 June 2015

Scientific Name

Lawsonia inermis L.


Alcanna spinosa (L.) Gaertn., Casearia multiflora Spreng., Lawsonia alba Lam. [Illegitimate]., Lawsonia speciosa L., Lawsonia spinosa L., Rotantha combretoides Baker [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Inai, pacar kuku, hinna [2]
English Henna, Egyptian privet, camphire [2], henna tree, alhenna [3]
China Chih chia hua, hai na, jan chih chia tsao, zhi jia hua ye [3]
India Aivanam, alakuvannatti, barge hina, dambin, gaumba, gorintaku, hena, henna, hina, hinamendhi, hinie, jetuka, korate, madarangi, marithondi, mayilanchi, pachchapeddagoranta, puttalacci, sakachara, timira, toni, uyarvannatti, yoranna [3]
Indonesia Inai, inai parasi, parasi (Sumatran); pachar kuku (Sundanese); [3] pacar kuku (Javanese) [2]; Inai (General);
Thailand Thian khaao, thian daeng, thian king [2]
Laos Kaaw [2]
Myanmar Dan [2]
Philippines Cinamomo (Tagalog) [2]
Cambodia Krâpéén [2]
Vietnam Lá mòn, nhuôm móng tay [2]
Tibet Maduyanta [3]
Arab Enah, fagia, henna [3]
France Henne [2]
Tanzania Mhina [3]
Nigeria Calle, iyalomo, laali, laali funfun, lali, lalle, lalli [3]

Geographical Distributions

Lawsonia inermis occurs wild from Iran to western India. From there, it has been spread eastward to the rest of India and Indonesia, and westward to the Middle East where it became one of the most important plants of Islam. It later followed Islamic armies and traders from Arabia reaching as far as Spain, Madagascar, the Moluccas, Indo-China and Japan. It is now distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics. L. inermis is mostly grown in home gardens and commercial production is limited to a few places in India, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, and the Sudan. [2]

Botanical Description

L. inermis is a member of the family Lythraceae. It is a much-branched, hairless shrub or small tree that can grow up to 2-6 m tall, with greyish-brown bark and unarmed when young. The older plants are with spine-tipped branchlets. The young branches are quadrangular. [2]

The leaves are arranged opposite, entire and subsessile, elliptic to broadly lance-shaped, measuring 1.5-5 cm x 0.5-2 cm and acuminate. [2]

The flowers are numerous in large, pyramidal, terminal cymes, fragrant, measure 1 cm across and 4-merous. The sepal is with tube 2 mm long and spreading lobes 3 mm long while the petals are orbicular or obovate, white or red. There are 8 stamens that are inserted in pairs on the rim of the sepal tube. The ovary is 4-celled, with style up to 5 mm long and erect. [2]

The fruit is a spherical capsule, measure 4-8 mm in diametre, many-seeded and opens irregularly. The seeds are 3 mm across, angular and with a thick seed coat. [2]


L. inermis requires high temperatures for germination, growth and development. It is adapted to a wide range of conditions. It tolerates poor, stony and sandy soils, but is also well-adapted to heavy, fertile clay soils. Low air humidity and drought are tolerated. [2]

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 L. inermis [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Lawsonia inermis L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013. [updated 2012 April 18; cited 2015 June 23] Available from:
  2. Oyen LPA. Lawsonia inermis L. In: Lemmens RHMJ, Wulijarni-Soetjipto N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 3: Dye and tannin-producing plants. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers, 1991; p. 83-86.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 726-727.