Monochoria vaginalis (Burm.f.) C.Presl.

Last updated: 22 July 2015

Scientific Name

Monochoria vaginalis (Burm.f.) C.Presl.


Boottia mairei H.Lév., Gomphima vaginalis (Burm.f.) Raf., Monochoria junghuhniana Hassk., Monochoria linearis (Hassk.) Miq., Monochoria loureiroi Kunth [Illegitimate], Monochoria ovata Kunth, Monochoria pauciflora (Blume) Kunth, Monochoria plantaginea (Roxb.)Kunth, Monochoria vaginalis (Burm. f.) C. Presl ex Kunth, Pontederia alba Buch.-Ham. ex Wall. [Invalid], Pontederia cordata Lour. [Illegitimate], Pontederia linearis Hassk., Pontederia ovata Hook. &Arn. [Illegitimate], Pontederia pauciflora Blume, Pontederia plantaginea Roxb., Pontederia racemosa Buch.-Ham.ex Wall. [Invalid], Pontederia vaginalis Burm.f., Pontederia vaginata Royle [Spelling variant]. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Kelayar, keladi agak [2], rumput air, cancang layar [3]
English Oval-leaved pondweed, oval-leaved monochoria, pickerel weed [2], cordate monochoria, duck’s-tongue monochoria [4]
China Fou shih, ya she cao, ya she tsao [4]
India Jalkeena, mir-lang-haum, nanka, nukha, piyazi [4]
Indonesia Eceng padi, eceng leutik, wewehan [2]; bengok, wewehan (Javanese); echeng lembut; echeng leutik (Sundanese) [3]
Thailand Khakhiat, ninlabon (Central); phakhin (North-eastern) [2]
Philippines Biga-bigaan (Tagalog); gabing uwak (Tagalog); bilagut (Ilocano) [2]
Cambodia Chrach [2]
Vietnam Rau ch[os]c, rau m[as]c l[as] thon [2]
Pakistan Cachiee [4]

Geographical Distributions

Monochoria vaginalis is native to South Asia, throughout Southeast Asia, ex­tending also to China, Japan, Fiji islands and northern Australia. It has become naturalised in Hawaii, California and in rice fields of Russia and Italy. It is sometimes cultivated as a vegetable. [2]

M. vaginalis occurs from the plains up to 1500 m. It is most common in eutrophic water, but may be found also in brackish and oligotrophic water. It is a stress-tolerant ruderal. [2]

Botanical Description

M. vaginalis is a member of the Pontederiaceae family. It is an annual and rarely rhizomatous herb. [2]

The stems are creeping or ascending. The petiole is up to 50 cm long. [2]

The leaf blade is linear or lance-shaped to ovate and measuring 2-21 cm x 0.2-10 cm. [2]

The inflorescence is very variable, with (1-)2-7(-20) flowers that become strongly deflexed in fruit. The peduncle is 2-50 cm long. The lower spathe is with sheath 1-3.7 cm long. The petiole is 0.5-7 cm, with linear or lance-shaped to ovate or cordate blade and measuring 1.3-10 cm x 0.3-15 cm. The upper spathe is 1-3.5 cm long. The pedicel is up to 3 cm long. The tepals measure 8-15 mm x 8 mm. There are 6 stamens where 5 of them are yellow and 1 blue. The style is 2-5 mm long. [2]

The fruit is ellipsoidal to ovoid and measuring 0.8-1.2 mm x 0.4-0.7 mm. [2]

The seed is ovoid, measuring 0.5-1 mm x 0.3-6 mm and with 8-10 narrow wings. [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 M. vaginalis [2]


  1. The Plant List. Monochoria vaginalis (Burm.f.) C.Presl [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated on 2012 Apr 18; cited on 2015 Jul 22] Available from :
  2. Boonkerd T, Na Songkhla B, Thephuttee W. Monochoria K.B. Presl. In: Siemonsma JS, Piluek K, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 8: Vegetables. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers, 1993; p. 210-212.
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p.149.
  4. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p.185.