Operculina turpethum (L.) Silva Manso

Last updated: 23 July 2015

Scientific Name

Operculina turpethum (L.) Silva Manso


Argyreia alulata Miq., Convolvulus anceps L., Convolvulus turpethum L., Ipomoea anceps (L.) Roem. & Schult., Ipomoea turpethum (L.) R. Br., Merremia turpethum (L.) Rendle, Merremia turpethum (L.) Bojer, Spiranthera turpethum (L.) Bojer. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Indian jalap, turpeth-root, wood rose, boxfruit, vine, turpethum [2][3]
China He guo teng [3]
India Cimai, civatai, nasotar, nishot, nisot, nisrita, pitohri, puripakinee, shevadie, vayr, tegada, tribhundee, triputa (tri, three, puta, angle); trivrit, trivrita [3]
Indonesia Areuy jotang (Sundanese); sampar-kedung, bala­ran (Javanese) [2]
Thailand Chingcho liam (Northern) [2]
Philippines Bangbangau, laplap­sut (Iloko); kamokamotihan (Tagalog) [2]
Vietnam Ch[if]a v[oo]I, b[if]m n[aw]p [2]
France Turbith vegetal [2]
Pakistan Nisot [3].

Geographical Distributions

Operculina tur­phetum is distributed in the Old World tropics from East Africa, the Mascarene Islands and Sey­chelles, through India to South and Southeast Asia, tropical Australia and Polynesia. It has not yet been recorded in Sumatra, and is rare in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. [2]

O. turphetum is weedy, and occurs in open forests, teak forests, hedges, thickets, road­sides and waste places, occasionally in sugar cane plantations, restricted to regions with a medium or strong monsoon, from sea level up to 1300 m al­titude. [2]

Botanical Description

O. turphetum is a member of the family Convolvulaceae. It is a perennial twiner, with stems 2-4 m long, narrowly 3-5-winged, grooved or angular, hairless or soft hairy at the nodes, with long rhizomes, fleshy and much branched. [2]

The leaves are arranged alternate, simple, very variable in shape, orbicular, broadly ovate, ovate to lance-shaped, and the broad leaves measure 5.5-15 cm x 4-14 cm. The narrow ones measure 5.5-7.5 cm x 1-2.5 cm, cor­date to hastate at base, acuminate at apex, acute or obtuse and mucronulate. The leaf margin is entire or rarely coarsely dentate to shallowly lobed. The upper surface is hairless or appressed hairy while the lower surface is hairy. [2]

The petiole is 2.5-7.5 cm long, cylindrical or some­times winged. The inflorescence is a few-flowered cyme. The peduncle is 2-18 cm long, cylindrical or sometimes wing­ed, and hairless or hairy. The flowers are actinomorphic, 5-merous, with angular pedicel, 12-15(-35) mm long and pubescent. The bracts are oblong or elliptical-oblong, mucronulate, 1.5-2 cm long, pubescent and caduceus. There are 5 sepals which are free, ovate or broadly ovate and acute. The outer sepal is 1.5-2.5 cm long and pubescent outside while the inner ones are 2 cm long and hairless. The sepal in fruit is broadly cup-shaped and up to 6 cm in diametre. The petal is broadly funnel-shaped, 3-4.5 cm long, white, sometimes with yellowish base, hairless and rarely with yellowish gland hairs outside. There are 5 stamens which are inserted. The filaments are adnate to the petal and sparsely pubescent below. [2]

The fruit is a cap­sule, depressed-spherical, 1.5 cm in diameter and with up to 4 seeds. The epicarp is circumscissile in or above the middle. The upper part (operculum) is more or less fleshy, separating from the lower part and from the endocarp. The endocarp is scarious, longitudinally split and irregular. [2]

The seed is trigonous to glob­ular, 6 mm long, smooth and dull black. [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 O. turphetum. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Operculina turpethum (L.) Silva Manso [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Apr 18; cited 2015 July 23]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/tro-8500073
  2. Aquilar NO. Operculina turphetum (L.) S. Manso 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. 389-391
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 330.