Polyscias fruticosa (L.) Harms

Last updated: 27 May 2016

Scientific Name

Polyscias fruticosa (L.) Harms 


Aralia deleauana L.Linden, Aralia fruticosa (L.) L.H.Bailey [Invalid], Aralia tripinnata Blanco, Nothopanax fruticosus var. plumata (W.Bull ex W.Richards) Merr., Nothopanax fruticosus var. plumatus (W. Bull ex W. Richards) Merr., Panax aureus Sander, Panax diffuses W.Bull, Panax dumosus W.Bull, Panax fissus W.Bull, Panax fruticosus L., Panax fruticosus var. crispus W.Bull ex Rafarin, Panax fruticosus var. deleauanus (L.Linden) N.E.Br., Panax plumatus Barb.Rodr. {Illegitimate], Panax plumatus W.Bull ex W.Richards, Polyscias fruticosa var. plumata (W.Bull ex W.Richards) L.H.Bailey, Tieghemopanax fritucosus (L.) R.Vig. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Kuku garuda, pokok teh [2]
English Aralia, India polyscias, Ming aralia [3]
China Nan yang shen [3]
Indonesia Puding (Malay); kedongdong laut (Sunda, Java); kedongdong petedhan (Madura); bombu (Makasar); keudem rintek (Minahasa); gurabati (Ternate); dewu papua (Ambon); tjakar kutjung (Java); imba, kedongdong laki (Sunda) [2]
Philippines Bani, makan, papua [2]
Cambodia Toem bo lyam [3]
Vietnam Cay goi ca [2]
Japan Taiwan momiji [2].

Geographical Distributions

Polyscias fruticosa is a shrub of eastern Malay Archipelago and Polynesia which has great variability in its foliage. It is much planted in various parts of Peninsular Malaysia. [4]

Botanical Description

P. fruticosa is a member of Linnaeus family. It is a shrub or treelet up to 3(-5) m tall and andromonoecious. [5]

The leaves are 3-5-pinnate; petiole (2-)5-15 cm, clasping at base, inconspicuously alate with membranous wings; petiolules 1-5 cm; primary leaf divisions (7-)11-15, each further divided once or twice, sometimes variegated, usually lanceolate, (1-)2-18 × 0.2-5 cm, papery, base narrowly cuneate to attenuate. [5]

The margin is laciniate to spinulose-serrate, teeth 5-10 mm, apex long acuminate. [5]

The inflorescence is terminal, erect, a panicle of umbels; primary axis 8-30(-60) cm; secondary axes 5-15, scattered or subverticillate, 7-25(-30) cm; tertiary axes 5-15 per secondary axis, mostly grouped in 2-4 verticils, with a terminal umbellule of bisexual flowers and 2-6 lateral umbellules of staminate flowers; pedicels 1.5-5 mm (shorter in staminate flowers). Ovary 2- or 3(or 4)-carpellate; styles free nearly to base, 0.8-1.2 mm at anthesis, recurving, expanding in fruit to 1.5 mm. [5]

The fruit is laterally compressed or trigonous (rarely quadrangular), orbicular to ovate-orbicular, 4-5 × 4.5-6 mm, base rounded (sometimes shallowly subcordate). [5]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

Extract of P. fruticosa leaves and roots have been reported to contain eight oleanolic acid saponins named Polysciosides A to H. [6]

Extract of P. fruticosa leaves has been reported to contain sesquiterpenoid (e.g. ß-elemene, α-bergamotene, germacrene-D and (E)-gM-bisabolene). [7]

Plant Part Used

Leaves and roots [4], barks [8]

Traditional Use

In Java, a decoction of P. fruticosa leaves and roots are used for stone, gravel and dysuria. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked as vegetable. It is also used to flavour meat and fish because it has the taste of parsley. [4]

In Fiji, the bark is used medicinally where the extract is taken to alleviate thrush and ulcerated tongue or throat. Liquid from the bark of the stems is taken to aid the expulsion of the placenta. A poultice made from the bark is used on syphilitic ulcers. Is has been claimed that hypertension has also been treated with this plant. [8]

A decoction of the leaves is used to treat sinusitis, headaches, and haemorrhoids. The decoction of the leaves together with the leaves of some other plant species is used as a treatment of tonsillitis and migraine. [8]

The leaves of P. fruticosa in the form of a decoction are used to treat a variety of gastric maladies (tympanism, dyspepsia, flatulence and diarrhoea). In Malaysia it is commonly used to treat haemorrhoids where the leaves are finely powdered as a poultice and shaped into an elongated mass to be inserted per rectal at bedtime. The roots and twigs are used for cleaning gums, teeth and relieving mouth ulcers. [9]

The plant is believed to have diuretic properties and it is used in the treatment of kidney diseases especially stones. The part which is most active is the roots. [10]

In China and Indo-China it is considered a sudorific and febrifuge and it used in the treatment of fever. [11]

Preclinical Data

No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Polyscias fruticosa (L.) Harms. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 May 23; cited 2016 May 27]. Available from http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-162496.
  2. 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.
  3. Hanelt P, Buttner R. Mansfeld’s encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural Crops. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2001; p. 1251.
  4. Burkill IH. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Volume 2. London: Published on behalf of the governments of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States by the Crown Agents for the Colonies. 1935; p. 1794-1795.
  5. Flora of China. Volume 13. Polyscias fruticosa. [homepage on the Internet]. No date [cited 2016 May 30]. Available from: http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200015272.
  6. Vo DH, Satoshi Y, Kazuhiro O, et al. Oleanane saponins from Polyscias fruticosa Phytochem. 1998;47(3): 451-457.
  7. Joseph JB, Erich VL, Apichart S. Constituent of the volatile leaf oils of Polyscias fruticosa (L.) Harms. Flavour Frag J. 2006;5(3):179-182.
  8. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 250.
  9. Vardhana R. Floristic plants of the world. New Delhi: Sarup & Sons, 2006; p. 690.
  10. Johnson T. CRC ethnobotany desk reference. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 1999; p. 659.
  11. Society for the diffusion of useful knowledge. Penny encyclopedia of the society for the diffusion of useful knowledge: Second supplement. University of Wisconsin, Madison: Knight & Company, 1846; p. 405.