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Record Number


PROSEA Handbook Number

12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2


Acalypha wilkesiana Müll. Arg.

This article should be read together with the article on the genus: Acalypha in the Handbook volume indicated above in this database.


in DC., Prodr. 15(2): 817 (1866).


Acalypha godseffiana Masters (1898).

Vernacular Names

Papua New Guinea: kavus (Lamasong, New Ireland), kokoai (Raluana, Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain), haunuana (Delena, Central Province). Thailand: pho ngoen, pho daang (central), bai ngoen (southeastern). Vietnam: tai t[uw][owj]ng d[or].


Possibly a native of Polynesia, widely cultivated as an ornamental in South-East Asia.


In New Ireland, leaves are heated over a fire and squeezed when soft. The juice is drunk to soothe throat infections such as laryngitis. In New Britain leaves are used to treat diarrhoea, whereas on the Gazelle Peninsula, leaf juice is drunk with water to treat diarrhoea and dysentery. In the Central Province boiled leaves are used to massage people suffering from fever. In the Southern Highlands the bark is used as a poison. In Fiji, an infusion of leaves and bark is drunk as a treatment for pleurisy. The leaves are squeezed and mixed with water, and drunk to regulate menstruation. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat gastritis and lymphoid swellings. In Central America, fresh leafy branches are externally applied to induce perspiration, apparently for their rubefacient effect. Similarly, heated leaves are applied to cure fevers. Likewise fresh or heated leaves are externally applied to relieve rheumatic pains, inflammations and swellings. In West Africa the water extract of the reddish form is traditionally used for treating skin problems.


An erect or spreading, evergreen, monoecious shrub, up to 2(—6) m tall; leaves ovate, (4—)7—25 cm x (2—)5—15 cm, base cordate, cuneate or obtuse, apex acute to short acuminate, margin crenate, often variegated, or twisted and distorted, petiole 1.5—12 cm long; inflorescence axillary and single, usually unisexual; male inflorescence racemose, up to 14 cm long, densely flowered with glomerules along the axis; female inflorescence spicate, 10—14 cm long, one to several flowered, bracts deeply lobed; fruit depressed globose, 2.5 mm x 3 mm.

Selected Sources

[13] Adesina, S.K., Oguntimein, B.J. & Akinwusi, D.D., 1980. Phytochemical and biological examination of the leaves of Acalypha wilkesiana. Quarterly Journal of Crude Drug Research 18(1): 45—48.
[31] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1972. The Euphorbiaceae of Siam. Kew Bulletin 26: 191—363.
[32] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1975. The Euphorbiaceae of Borneo. Kew Bulletin Additional Series IV. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, United Kingdom. 245 pp.
[33] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1980. The Euphorbiaceae of New Guinea. Kew Bulletin Additional Series VIII. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, United Kingdom. 243 pp.
[35] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1982. The Euphorbiaceae of Central Malesia (Celebes, Moluccas, Lesser Sunda Is.). Kew Bulletin 37: 1—40.
[36] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1983. An alphabetical enumeration of the Euphorbiaceae of the Philippines Islands. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 56 pp.
[74] Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink Jr, R.C., 1964—1968. Flora of Java. 3 volumes. Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. Vol. 1 (1964) 647 pp., Vol. 2 (1965) 641 pp., Vol. 3 (1968) 761 pp.
[143] Cambie, R.C. & Ash, J., 1994. Fijian medicinal plants. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Canberra, Australia. 350 pp.
[320] Fosberg, F.R. & Sachet, M.H., 1980. Systematic studies of Micronesian plants. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 45: 1—40.
[418] Holdsworth, D.K., 1977. Medicinal plants of Papua New Guinea. Technical Paper No 175. South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia. 123 pp.
[422] Holdsworth, D.K., 1989. High altitude medicinal plants of Papua New Guinea. International Journal of Crude Drug Research 27(2): 95—100.
[430] Holdsworth, D.K., Gideon, O. & Pilokos, B., 1989. Traditional medicine of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. Part III. Konos, Central New Ireland. International Journal of Crude Drug Research 27: 55—61.
[431] Holdsworth, D.K. & Lacanienta, E., 1981. Traditional medicinal plants of the Central Province of Papua New Guinea. Part I. Quarterly Journal of Crude Drug Research 19(4): 144—154.
[459] Huxley, A., Griffiths, M. & Levy, M., 1992. The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening. 4 volumes. The MacMillan Press Ltd., London, United Kingdom. 3353 pp.
[567] Krebs, S., 1983. Acalypha im Kommen. Sorten aus Danemark bestimmen das Sortiment. [The increasing popularity of Acalypha. Cultivars from Denmark dominate the selection.] Deutscher Gartenbau 37(42): 1940—1941.
[662] Matthew, K.M., 1981—1988. The flora of the Tamilnadu Carnatic. 4 volumes. The Rapinat Herbarium, St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirapalli, India.
[696] Morton, J.F., 1981. Atlas of medicinal plants of Middle America. Bahamas to Yucatan. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, United States. 1420 pp.
[813] Radcliffe-Smith, A., 1987. Euphorbiaceae (Part 1). In: Polhill, R. (Editor): Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, the Netherlands & Boston, United States. pp. 1—407.
[965] Stotlz, L.P., 1979. In vitro propagation of Acalypha wilkesiana. HortScience 14(6): 702—703.


Arbayah H. Siregar

Correct Citation of this Article

Siregar, A.H., 2001. Acalypha wilkesiana Müll. Arg.. In: van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H. and Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors): Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. Database record:

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