Cosmos caudatus Kunth

Last updated: 11 Jun 2016

Scientific Name

Cosmos caudatus Kunth


Bidens berteriana Spreng., Bidens carnea Heer, Bidens caudata (Kunth) Sch.Bip. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Ulam raja, pelampong [2]
English Cosmos [2]
Indonesia Kenikir (Java); randa midang (West Java) [2]
Thailand Daoruang-phama (Bangkok); khamhae (Northern) [2]
Philippines Cosmos (Tagalog); turay-turay (Bisaya); onwad (Ifugao) [2]
Spain Cosmos, Estrella de Mar [3][4].

Geographical Distributions

Cosmos caudatus is indigenous to tropical America. It was intro­duced by the Spaniards into the Philippines, pos­sibly because it was used by them as a vegetable at sea. Now it is pantropical, including Southeast Asia, where it is cultivated but also occurs in a naturalised state. [2]

C. caudatus often oc­curs as a weed in the neighbourhood of human habitations, e.g. in fields and waste places, from the lowlands up to 1600 m altitude. It likes sunny places with a not-too-humid atmosphere and a fertile, pervious soil. [2]

Botanical Description

C. caudatus is a member of the Compositae family. It is an erect, annual to short-lived perennial herb. The upper half is much branched, aromatic and up to 3 m tall. Its stem is longitudinally striate, green and often tinged with purple. [2]

The leaves are arranged opposite, 2-4 pin­nate or pinnatipartite, triangular-ovate in outline, measuring 2.5-20 cm x 1.5-20 cm, dark green above, nearly hairless and light green below with minute hairs. The petiole is up to 5 cm long. The ultimate leaf segments are ob­long-lance-shaped and measuring 0.5-5 cm x 1-8 mm. [2]

The inflorescence is a head, which is terminal (with other heads forming a lax panicle) or axillary, solitary and it is in the axils of the higher leaves. The peduncle is 5-30 cm long. There are 8 involucral bracts, which are linear-lance-shaped, measure 1.5-2 cm long and re­flexed in the fruit. The 8 ray flowers are sterile, of which the ligules are linear­ lance-shaped, measuring 1-1.5 cm x 0.5 cm, mostly violet or red­dish but seldom yellow or white. The tubular flowers are 0.7-1 cm long, bi­sexual, numerous and yellowish-green. [2]

The fruit is one-seeded, linear-spindle-shaped, 4-angular, measures 1-3 cm long, black and ends with a beak with 2-3 short unequal awns. [2]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

C. caudatus has been reported to contain Quercetin 3-O-β- arabinofuranoside, quercetin 3-O-α-rhamnoside, quercetin 3-O-β-glucoside, and quercetin. [5]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant. [3][6]

Traditional Use

C. caudatus has been said was introduced to the Philippines by the Spaniards who had used it as a vegetable during their long voyage. It has spread throughout Southeast Asia as a vegetable due to its aromatic characters and its agreeable taste to the Malays. [3][6][7]

There is mentioned of the plant having a sweet taste and cooling character and is considered a blood purifier, tonic for the muscles and can strengthen the bones. In the Malay traditions of ulam consumption, C. caudatus is considered as an appetite stimulant due to its sweet and bitter aromatic taste. [3][6]

Preclinical Data


Antioxidant activity

C. caudatus has been found to have a very potent antioxidant activity to the tune of 2,400 mg/L ascorbic acid equivalent antioxidant capacity (AEAC) per 100 g of fresh samples. This activity is attributed to the presence of a number of proanthocyanidins that existed as dimmers through hexamers, quercetin glycosides, chlorogenic, neochlorogenic, crypto-chrologenic acids and (+)-catching. In a screening exercise of 21 tropical herbs for their antioxidant activity, C. caudatus proved to be the most potent. [8][9]


No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing



Figure 1: Line drawing of C. caudatus [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Cosmos caudatus Kunt. [homepage on the internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Feb 11; cited 2016 Jun 11]. Available from:
  2. Siemonsma JS, Piluek K, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 8. Vegetables. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers; 1993.
  3. Hariana HA. Tumbuhan obat dan khasiatnya. Seri Kedua. Jakarta: Niaga Swadaya, 2008; p. 48-49.
  4. Kays SJ. Cultivated vegetables of the world: A multilingual onomasticon. Wageningen, Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2011; p. 83.
  5. Abas F. Phytochemical and biological activity studies of Cosmos Caudatus and Curcuma Mangga and the online characterization of bioactive fractions from Melicope ptelefolia. PhD thesis. [unpublished document]. Selangor, Malaysia: Universiti Putra Malaysia; 2005.
  6. Ong HC. Sayuran: Khasiat makanan & ubatan. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn Bhd, 2003; p. 134.
  7. Burkill IH. A dictionary of economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Malaysia, 1966; p. 679-680.
  8. Shui G, Leong LP, Wong SP. Rapid screening and characterisation of antioxidants of Cosmos caudatus using liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2005;827(1):127-38.
  9. Mustafa RA, Abdul Hamid A, Mohamed S. Total phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and radical scavenging activity of 21 selected tropical plants. J Food Sci. 2010;75(1):C28-35.