Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Oldenlandia biflora L.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Linnaeus, C. (1753) Species Plantarum 1: 119. Type: Habitat in India.


Spreading prostrate to decumbent annual herb with stout 4-angled branchlets, sometimes with scabrid hairs along the ribs.


Leaf blades 18-36 x 7-14 mm, with scabrid hairs along the margin and midvein above, glabrous below; petioles 1-3 mm long. Stipules triangular, 1.5-2.5 mm long, margins with one or two teeth.


Inflorescence a few-flowered cyme with 10-30 mm long peduncles; pedicels 5-10 mm long; bracts 1-4 mm long and subulate to oblong. Calyx tube turbinate and ribbed, 1-1.5 x 1-1.7 mm; lobes triangular. 1-1.5 mm long with scabrid hairs on the margins. Corollawhite to pale blue and with a short, 0.5-0.8 mm long tube that are shorter than the calyx lobes; lobes linear and 2-3 mm long. Style 0.5 mm long. Stamens and style exserted from corolla tube but enclosed by lobes.


Capsule turbinate-obovoid, 2.5-4.5 x 3-3.5 mm, laterally compressed, calyx lobes erect; beak ca. 0.5 mm long and truncate. Seeds 3-4 per capsule, transversely ellipsoidal, ca. 0.5 mm long; testa brown and scrobiculate.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 90 m. Grows on edges of swamps, mangroves and along streams in sclerophyll forest and Casuarina woodland on coastal dunes. Also from Sri Lanka, India and Indo-China to Samoa and throughout Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

In the Philippines, the plants are pounded and applied to wounds, and a decoction is administered internally to cure diarrhoea. Besides these uses, traditional doctors in Thailand also use the whole plant for its anti-amoebic and antipyretic properties. In India, it is used to treat fever and stomach complaints. In Vietnam, it is applied to treat snake bites.

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