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  Acanthus ilicifolius L.
  Family Name : Acanthaceae

  Common Names : Mangrove Holly, Sea Holly, Jeruju Putih, Kolimulli

  Chinese Name : 老鼠勒

Mangrove Holly,Sea Holly,Jeruju Putih,Kolimulli
  • Record Info
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Maximum Height :
      3 m
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      India to Polynesia (including Singapore), and Australia
      Local Conservation Status :
      Native to Singapore (Common)
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: It is a semi-woody, sprawling shrub sometimes up to 3 m tall. Its stems are shiny green with speckles, and a pair of spines at the leaf’s angles. Prop roots may sometimes develop at lower parts of the stems.
      Foliage: Its opposite, shortly-stalked leaves possess spiny leaf blades that are oval to oblong, pale green with a yellowish tinge above and green below, and 5–22 cm by 2–7 cm.
      Flowers: Its flowering shoot is up to 20 cm long, bearing up to 20 pairs of flowers clustered in four vertical rows at its end. Its pale lilac flowers are 2–4 cm long, with three much- bracts (reduced leaves) basally.
      Fruits: Its 4-seeded fruits are slightly flattened, ovoid, shiny green, and 2–3 cm long. They explode when ripe to expose wrinkled, whitish-green seeds that are about 1 cm long.
      Habitat :
      It grows in mangrove forest, pure freshwater or waterlogged areas, and on dry land. It occurs locally in the vicinities of Sungei Mandai, Senoko, Pasir Ris Park, Pulau Ubin, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and many other mangrove forest sites.
      Associated Fauna :
      Its flowers are pollinated by carpenter bees and occasionally sunbirds.
      Cultivation :
      It can be propagated by seed or stem cuttings.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Medicinal (Constipation and sore legs can be treated by taking a mixture of the aerial parts of the plant and ginger. The leaves are used to treat rheumatism and wounds. They are also used to make a soothing and softening cream. A solution of the crushed leaves may be drunk to aid childbirth. Additionally, a concoction of the leaves can be taken with the stems to promote longevity, or with the roots to improve hair conditions, and treat sores and snake bites.)
      [Others]: The entire plant can also be used as a drying agent and so placed in rice sacks. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant.
  • Landscaping Features
    • Landscaping :
      Its spiny leaves make it useful as a barrier plant to block off certain areas of the landscape design. It is grown as a marsh plant for pond edges or in beds in drier conditions.
      Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Waterlogged Soils (Does not Drain Site), Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Easy to Grow
      Landscape Uses :
      Coastal, Hedge / Screening, Pond / Lake / River, Marsh / Bog
      Thematic Landscaping :
      Marsh Garden
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Associated Fauna :
      Bird-Attracting (Flowers)
      Pollination Method(s) :
      Biotic (Fauna)
      Seed / Spore Dispersal :
      Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun, Semi-Shade
      Water Preference :
      Lots of Water
      Propagation Method :
      Seed, Stem Cutting (Tip; Herbaceous)
  • Foliar
    • Foliage Retention :
      Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Green - Light Green
      Mature Foliage Texture(s) :
      Foliar Modification :
      Spine (marginal)
      Foliar Type :
      Simple / Unifoliate
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Foliar Attachment to Stem :
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage
      Foliar Venation :
      Pinnate / Net
      Foliar Margin :
      Pinnately Lobed / Pinnatifid
      Foliar Base :
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower & Plant Sexuality :
      Bisexual Flowers
      Flower Colour(s) :
      Purple, White
      Flower Grouping :
      Cluster / Inflorescence
      Flower Location :
      Flower Symmetry :
      Inflorescence Type :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Brown, Green
      Mature Fruit Texture(s) :
      Glossy / Shiny
      Fruit Classification :
      Simple Fruit
      Fruit Type :
      Dehiscent Dry Fruit (Capsule)
  • References
    • Duke, N. C.. 2006. Australia’s mangroves: The authoritative guide to Australia’s mangrove plants. Australia: University of Queensland. pp. 80-191
      Khare, C. P.. 2007. Indian medicinal plants: An illustrated dictionary. United States of America: Springer Science & Business Media. 900pp
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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