Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl.

Last updated: 22 Aug 2016

Scientific Name

Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl.


Epipremnum angustilobum K.Krause , Epipremnum elegans Engl., Epipremnum elegans f. ternatensis Alderw., Epipremnum formosanum Hayata, Epipremnum merrillii Engl. & K.Krause, Epipremnum mirabile Schott       , Epipremnum mirabile f. eperforatum Engl., Epipremnum mirabile f. multisectum Engl., Epipremnum pinnatum f. multisectum (Engl.) Engl., Epipremnum robinsonii K.Krause, Monstera caudata (Roxb.) Schott, Monstera dilacerata (K.Koch & Sello) K.Koch, Monstera pinnata (L.) Schott, Monstera pinnata (L.) Schott, Philodendron dilaceratum Engl., Philodendron nechodomae Brittondd, Polypodium laciniatum Burm.f., Pothos caudatus Roxb., Pothos decursivus Wall. [Illegitimate], Pothos pinnatifidus Roxb., Pothos pinnatus L., Rhaphidophora caudata (Roxb.) Schott, Rhaphidophora cunninghamii Schott, Rhaphidophora dilacerata (K.Koch & Sello) K.Koch, Rhaphidophora formosana (Hayata) M.Hotta [Illegitimate], Rhaphidophora laciniata (Burm.f.) Merr., Rhaphidophora lovellae F.M.Bailey, Rhaphidophora merrillii Engl., Rhaphidophora neocaledonica Guillaumin, Rhaphidophora pertusa var. vitiensis (Schott) Engl., Rhaphidophora pinnata (L.) Schott, Rhaphidophora pinnatifida (Roxb.) Schott, Rhaphidophora vitiensis Schott     , Rhaphidophora wallichii Schott, Scindapsus bipinnatifidus Teijsm. & Binn., Scindapsus caudatus (Roxb.) Schott, Scindapsus decursivus Moritzi [Illegitimate], Scindapsus dilaceratus K.Koch & Sello, Scindapsus forsteri Endl., Scindapsus pinnatifidus (Roxb.) Schott, Scindapsus pinnatus (L.) Schott, Tornelia dilacerata (K.Koch & Sello) Schott. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Kelem-bahang, kelampayan [2]
English Centipede Tongavine, devil’s ivy, dragon tail plant, golden pothos, hunter’s robe, pothos, Solomon island ivy, Swiss-cheese plant, taro vine. [2]
China Qi lin ye [2]
India Gajathippali, panniperandai [2]
Thailand Ngot, ngot khao, naang rong [3]
Philippines Amlong, amulong, balamai, balikukup bisano, daila, dibatib, dukup, garban, horag, malapakpak, takoline, tampinbanal, tibatib, tirbatib [2]
Papua New Guinea Galgalut, galogalomi, garegaigi, golong [2]
Vietnam R[as]y leo l[as] x[er], r[as]y ng[os]t [3].

Geographical Distributions

Epipremnum pinnatum is very widely distributed, from Bangladesh, the Andaman Islands, Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam and probably also Laos, southern China, southern Japan, through Thailand and the whole of Malesia, to Queensland (Australia) and many islands in the Pacific. [4]

Botanical Description

E. pinnatum is a large climber that can grow up to 15 m long. Its stem is up to 4 cm in diametre. It is lustrous green with irregular longitudinal whitish crests but becoming pale brown later, with numerous clasping roots and a few feeding roots. [4]

The leaves are arranged alternately, ovate to oblong-elliptical in outline, usually regularly pinnatifid, measuring 10-93 cm x 5-60 cm, rounded to slightly cordate at the base, acute to acuminate at apex and sometimes minutely perforated. The petiole is 20-60 cm long, canaliculate, with petiolar sheath which later falls off to leave a brownish scar, basically and apically distinctly geniculate. Stipules are absent. [4]

The inflorescence is cylindrical, whitish, yellowish or greenish, and with spadix up to 25 cm long which is enveloped by a boat-shaped greenish spathe withering after anthesis and caducous. The peduncle is stout and measures up to 21.5 cm long. The flowers are bisexual and without perianth. There are 4 stamens. The ovary is superior, with trapezoid stylar region and linear stigma. [4]

The fruit is a greenish berry, densely packed in a cylindrical infructescence which is oblique at the base and with a few seeds embedded in sticky orange-red pulp. [4]

The brownish seeds are curved, measuring about 4.5 mm x 3.5 mm, with bony testa and ornamented. [4]


E. pinnatum occurs in primary and secondary rainforests and monsoon forest, up to 1600 m altitude. It is sometimes a weed in rubber plantations, and grows occasionally on rocks and in coastal forests. [4]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

Stem, leaves [2]

Traditional Use

In the Fiji Island, E. pinnatum stem is believed to have contraceptive properties while the liquid expressed from the stem is used as menstrual regulator and promoter of fertility [5]. While the leaves are eaten to treat chest pain and sometimes are used to blacken the teeth for dysentery and neuralgia [2].

Preclinical Data


Anticancer activity

E. pinnatum chloroform extract produced significant growth inhibition against T-47D breast carcinoma cells and analysis of cell death mechanisms indicated that the extract elicited both apoptotic and non-apoptotic programmed cell deaths. [6]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation


No documentation

Side effects

No documentation

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

No documentation

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation


No documentation

Case Report

No documentation


Dosage Range

No documentation

Most Common Dosage

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

Toxic parts

Stem and leaves [7]


Water-insoluble calcium oxalate raphides. Mechanism of action is basically mechanical stimulation of the crystalline calcium oxalate needles which is released in a projectile fashion upon chewing. The needles upon penetrating the mucous membrane excite the release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators. [7]

Risk management

The used of this plant as an ornamental is not widespread, however, recently in Malaysia it has been promoted as an anticancer remedy amongst the Chinese community. If proper method of detoxifying it is carried out, there should not be much danger of poisoning. [7]

Poisonous clinical findings

No documentation


Prehospital care

1.   Remove all traces of plant material from areas contaminated with it i.e. mouth, eye and skin, immediately. Rescuers should ensure they are protected from contact with these plant materials. [7]

2.     Exposed areas should be copiously irrigates with water. [7]

3.     If ingested, the mouth should be repeatedly rinsed with cool water or a demulcent. [7]

4.     Provide analgesics if pain is severe. [7]

Emergency department care

1.     Oral exposure – Asses airway for any signs of compromise. Those without compromised airway can be given cold liquids, crushed ice or ice cream for relief. Keeping or swishing antihistamine liquid like diphenhydramine in the mouth can provide local anaesthetic and antihistaminic effects. Those with evidence of laryngeal oedema can be treated with antihistamines and observed or better admitted until oedema subsides. [7]

2.     Eye exposures – Copious irrigation with water. Rule out corneal involvement by performing slit-lap examination with fluorescein staining. [7]

3.   Skin exposures – Washing with soap and water suffice, and local wound care it there exist any wounds. Some people may develop contact dermatitis. [7]

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of E. pinnatum [3]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Aug 22]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-70510
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 80
  3. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Tabatib- Raphidophora merillii Engl. [homepage on the Internet]. [updated 2014 Aug; cited 2016 Aug 23]. Available from: http://www.stuartxchange.com/Tabatib.html
  4. Lemmens RHMJ, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia 12(3): Medicinal and poisonous plants 3. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers; 2003.
  5. Cambie RC, Brewis A. Anti-fertility plants of the Pacific. Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing, 1997; p. 30
  6. Tan ML, Shaida FS, Najimudin N. Anticancer medicinal plant, Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl. Chloroform extracts elicited both apoptotic and non-apoptotic cell deaths in T-47D mammary carcinoma cells. KMITL Sci Tech J. 2007;7(1):24-43.
  7. Nelson LS, Shih RD, Balick MJ. Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. 2nd ed. New York: Springer, 2007; p. 98–99.