Clidemia hirta (L.) D. Don

Last updated: 4 May 2016

Scientific Name

Clidemia hirta (L.) D. Don


Clidemia benthamiana Miq., Clidemia elegans (Aubl.) D. Don, Maieta hirta (L.) M. Gómez, Melastoma elegans Aubl., Melastoma hirtum L., Staphidium benthamianum Naudin, Staphidium elegans (Aubl.) Naudin, Clidemia hirta var. chrysantha Cogn., Clidemia hirta var. elegans (Aubl.) Griseb., Clidemia hirta var. hirta [1]

Vernacular Name

English Bush currants, camasey, Koster’s curse, soap-bush [2]
Jamaica Soap Bush [3]
Fiji Koster’s curse [3]
Hawaii Koster’s curse [3]
Madagascar Trotrobato [2]
Mexico Lila [2]
Peru Mullava, pajar mullaca, yana mullaca, mullaca, tesiguinñ-ey [2]

Geographical Distributions

Clidemia hirta introduced as weed in the Old World tropics in tropical America, Antilles. This plant is cultivated in tropical regions. [4]

C. hirta can be found in disturbance habitats such as, landslides, riverbanks, burned areas, old fields and along roadsides. [5]

Botanical Description

Clidemia hirta is a member of the Melastomataceae family of plants. It is a branching shrub which can reach up to 2m high. [6]

The branchlets are laxly hirsute with spreading hairs. [6]

The leaves with lamina elliptic-ovate 4-14 measuring around 2-7.5cm, basally rounded to cordate, shortly acuminate at the apex, 5 nerved with many distinct lateral veins, laxly hirsute with spreading hairs above and especially on the veins beneath, more or less rugulose. The petiole measures 0.5-3cm long, hirsute. [6]

The flowers are few or several in branched inflorescences. The hypanthium measure 2.5-3.0mm wide, laxly hirsute with spreading hairs, with a rim of fimbriate scales inside; lobe appendages subulate, with few spreading hairs as on they hypanthium. The petals obovate-oblong measure 6-9mm long, white. The anthers narrowly linear-oblong measuring 3.8-4.5mm long, white in colour. The anthers narrowly linear-oblong, measure 3.4-4.5mm long. [6]

The fruit globose, bluish, black, juicy. [6]


Pest and Disease Control

In Hawaii and Fiji, the thrips Liothrips urichi from Trinidad are been used as partially biological control agent for C. hirta through reducing theplant’s competitive ability [3][7]. The fungal pathogens, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides f. sp. also been used to control this plant in Hawaii. [7]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

No documentation.

Traditional Use

C. hirta is used in Brazil to treat skin lesions from Leishmania brailiensis. [8] Amongst the villagers of Peninsular Malaysia the chewed leaves is poultice on bleeding wounds as an aid to arrest bleeding [9]. They also use this plant as a remedy to treat venom fever. [10]

Preclinical Data


Antibacterial activity

Of the 172 plants in Puerto Rico screened for their antibacterial properties, C. hirta leaves were found to be active against some Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria. The bacteria it was active against include Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter cloacae, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Proteus vulgaris, Micrococcus luteus, Mycobacterium phlei, Mycobacterium rhodochrous, Mycobacterium smegmatis. [11]


No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Clidemia hirta (L.) D. Don. Ver 1.1. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated on 2012 April 18; cited on 2016 Apr 3]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of plant names: common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press LLC; 1999:p. 320.
  3. Cronk QCB, Fuller JL. Plant invaders: Thai threat to natural ecosystem. Revised edition. New York: Quentin, 2014;p.73-75.
  4. Hanelt P, Buttner R. Mansfeld’s encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural: (except ornamentals). New York: Springer science & Business Media, 2001; p. 967.
  5. Ochola WO, Sanginga PC, Bekalo I. Managing natural resources for development in Africa: a resource book. Kenya: IDRC, 2010; p. 91.
  6. Dassanayake MD, Fosberg FR. A revised handbook to the flora of Ceylon. Volume 6. London: Taylor & Francis, 1988; p.177
  7. Simberloff D, Rejmanek M. Encyclopedia of biological invasions. Barkeley. University of California. 2011; p.461.
  8. Francis JK, Piedras R, Juan S, et al. Wildlife shrubs of the United States and its thamnic description. Volume 1. United States. U.S. Dept. Agricultural, Forest Service, International of Tropical Forestry, 2004; p.224.
  9. Musa N. The forgotten jungle medicine of Taman Negara Pahang, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Association, Penang, 2007.
  10. Kamaruddin MS, Latiff A. Tumbuhan ubatan Malaysia. Bangi: Pusat Pengurusan Penyelidikan UKM; 2002.
  11. Meléndez PA, Capriles VA. Antibacterial properties of tropical plants from Puerto Rico. Phytomedicine. 2006;13(4):272-276.