Ruellia repens L.

Last updated: 15 Aug 2016

Scientific Name

Ruellia repens L.


Dipteracanthus repens (L.) Hassk., Dipteracanthus lanceolatus Nees. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Akar keremak, deras malam, rumput halyor (Peninsular) [2]
Indonesia Plinten, remah, sekatan (Java) [2]
Thailand Chaa horn, faa maeng (Nakhon Ratchasima) [2]
Vietnam Qu[ar] n[oor] b[of], song d[uwj]c [2].

Geographical Distributions

Ruellia repens is widely distributed in India, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, Southern China, Taiwan, Thailand and throughout the Malaysian region except New Guinea. This plant occurs in moderately shaded, often grassy localities, in roadsides, brushwood, sometimes in abandoned fields, up to 700 m altitude. [2]

Botanical Description

D. repens is a member of the Acanthaceae family. It is an erect or ascending herb which can grow up to 70 cm tall, with subquadrangular and finely hairy or smooth stem thickened above the nodes. [2]

The leaves are arranged opposite, simple and entire, ovate to ovate-lance-shaped or linear-lance-shaped, 1.5-10 cm x 0.5-3 cm, rounded to acute at base, obtuse to acuminate at apex, sparingly hairy and with cystoliths. Transverse ridges connect the petioles while stipules are absent. [2]

The flowers are solitary in the leaf-axils, bisexual, 5-merous and subsessile. The bracteoles are ovate or ovate-oblong and 1-2 cm long. Sepal is about 4 mm long, lance-shaped to narrowly triangular and subequal segments. The petal is about 2 cm long, bell-shaped with narrow base, subequally lobed with ovate-suborbicular lobes and separated by convexities, violet to white and hairy. There are 4 stamens that are inserted at the base of petal tube, didynamous but not exserted. The ovary is superior with 2-celled, subulate style and hairy with 2 unequal stigmatic lobes. [2]

The 1-1.5 cm long fruit is club-shaped capsule with many-seeded. [2]

The seeds are orbicular, compressed and ringed with hygroscopic hairs. [2] 


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

Leaves [3]

Traditional Use

D. repens  is used to treat cough, heal wounds, scalds, ulcers, toothache and stomachache. [3]

The pounded leaves are used as poultice for ulcers and sore legs. The powdered dried leaves when mixed with saffron and rice can dissipate heat when applied over the whole body in children who are restless and perspiring heavily [3]. It also can be mixed with warm water and drank to remove kidney stones [4].

Preclinical Data

No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of Dipteracanthus repens (L.) Hassk. (synonym of R. repens L.) [2]


  1. Ruellia repens L. [homepage on the Internet]. St. Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden; c2015 [cited 2015 May 19]. Available from:
  2. Lemmens RHMJ, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia 12 (3): Medicinal and Poisonous Plants 3. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publication; 2003.
  3. 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. 1953-1954.
  4. Samuel AJSJ, Kalusalingam A, Chellappan DK, et al. Ethnomedical survey of plants used by the Orang Asli in Kampong Bawong, Perak, West Malaysia. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2010;6:5.