Pisonia aculeata L.

Last updated: 3 August 2015

Scientific Name

Pisonia aculeata L.


Pallavia aculeata (L.) Vell., Pisonia aculeata var. pedicellaris Griseb. ex Heimerl, Pisonia grandifolia Standl. [Illegitimate], Pisonia loranthoides Kunth, Pisonia monotaxadenia C. Wright, Pisonia sieberi Schltr., Pisonia villosa Poir., Pisonia yagua-pinda D.Parodi, Tragularia horrida K.D.Koenig ex Roxb. [Unresolved]. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Devil’s claw pisonia, pisonia vine, pull-and-hold back, thorny pisonia [2]
China Xian guo teng [2]
India Antu hannu gida [2]
Indonesia Alar (Madurese); cuhun-Iamarang (South Bantam); ram pari (Sumba) [3]
Thailand Khat khao (Peninsular); ma kang phee (Northern); huu cha luang (South­eastern) [3]
Philippines Digkit, pakat-aso (Tagalog); puriket (Iloko) [3]
Vietnam B[if] s[ow]n nh[oj]n, tuy[ees]n qu[ar] d[awf]ng [3]
Japan Toge-kazura [2]
Southern Africa umQopho, uSondesa, Nsuwu (Zulu) [2].

Geographical Distributions

Pisonia aculeate is pantropical, from (sub)tropical America, the West and East coasts of Africa and Indian Ocean islands, to Burma (Myanmar), Indochina, South Chinese islands, and throughout Southeast Asia. It is also found in Peninsular Malay­sia, Central Sumatra, Java, Lesser Sunda Islands, Northern Borneo, Sulawesi, the Philippines, New Guinea to Northern Australia and New Caledonia. [3]

P. aculeata occurs along coasts, in hedges, rain forests and open forests, sometimes forming impenetrable masses, and from sea level up to 500 m altitude. [3]

Botanical Description

P. aculeate is a member of the Nyctaginaceae family. It is a large, dioecious, climbing and overhanging shrub, up to 20 m tall, and armed with solitary, axillary, and recurved thorns which are 0.5-1.0 cm long. [3]

The leaves are arranged (sub) opposite, elliptical, measure 4-10 cm x 1.3-5 cm, acute at base, obtuse at apex and with 0.5-2.5 cm long petiole. The thyrse is axillary, dense, 1-2.5 cm in diametre and short brown hairy. [3]

The flowers are unisexual, with short pedicel and 1-3 bracteoles. The male flower is funnel-shaped, 3 mm long, with 10 lobes where 5 are large and alternate, while the other 5 small ones are opposite, with 5 rows of black stalked glands outside and recurved. There are 7-8 stamens, long exserted, with small ovary and trifid stigma. The female flower is bell-shaped, urn-shaped, with lobes 2 mm long, and the male flowers are with androecium absent, fimbriate stigma and 1-1.5 mm exserted. [3]

The anthocarp is club-shaped, measures 15 mm x 2-2.5 mm and 5-ribbed. Each of it is with a biserial row of glandu­lar appendages that soft, viscid prick­les grow out from them and are 1.5 mm long. [3]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

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No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1 : The line drawing of Pisonia aculeata [2]


  1.  The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Pisonia aculeata L. [homepage on the Internet] c203. [updated on 2012 Mar 23; cited on 2015 Jul 28]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2552434
  2.  Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plant: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p.601.
  3.  Schmelzer GH, Bunyapraphatsara N. Pisonia aculeata L. 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. 434-435.