Flora of Thailand



27. Cnesmone


L. Phuphatahanaphong


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Genus description

Identification key

Species descriptions




Blume, Bijdr. Fl. Ned. Ind. 630. 1826 (Cnesmosa); Benth. in Benth. & Hook., Gen. Pl. 3: 330. 1880; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 5: 466. 1888; Pax & K.Hoffm. in Engl., Pflanzenr. IV.147.ix: 102, t. 23, A-E. 1919; Gagnep. in Lecomte, Fl. Indo-Chine 5: 385. 1926; Croizat, J. Arnold Arbor. 22: 427. 1941; Airy Shaw, Kew Bull. 26: 240. 1972; Whitmore, Tree Fl. Mal. 2: 83. 1973; N.P.Balakr. & N.G.Nair, Gard. Bull. 31: 49. 1978; G.L.Webster, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 81: 94. 1994; Radcl.-Sm., Gen. Euphorbiacearum: 250. 2001; Phuph. in Chayam. & Welzen, Fl. Thailand 8, 1: 182; G.L.Webster in Kubitzki, Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 11: 152. 2014. 2005. Cenesmon Gagnep., Bull. Soc. Bot. France 71: 866. 1924.


Twining shrubs or climbers, monoecious. Indumentum normal and stinging simple hairs. Stipules broad, persistent. Leaves alternate, simple, petiolate; blade with usually a narrowly cordate base, margin denticulate, penninerved or basally 35 nerves. Inflorescences racemes, terminal or leaf-opposed, bisexual with a few pistillate flowers below; bracts with a single flower, pistillate flowers also with bracteoles. Flowers regular, pedicellate; petals and disc absent. Staminate flowers: calyx 3-lobed, valvate; stamens 3, slightly or not exserted, filaments free, connective thick, separating the 2 thecae, protruding above thecae; pistillode absent. Pistillate flowers: sepals 3, imbricate, enlarging in fruit; ovary 3-locular; ovules 1 per locule; style broad, short, stigmas strongly fimbriate-plumose. Fruits capsular, dehiscing into bivalved cocci; columella persistent, apically broadened. Seeds globose, covered by thin sarcotesta.

    Comprising 12 species, found from Assam and Bangladesh to S.E. Asia (up to S. China) and in W. Malesia (up to Philippines, Borneo, Java); three species in Thailand. Classification: Subfam. Acalyphoideae, tribe Plukenetieae, subtribe Tragiinae.


Key to the species



Base of leaf blade truncate. Pistillate sepals subulate

2. C. laevis


Base of leaf blade (narrowly and shallowly) cordate. Pistillate sepals (broadly) ovate



Leaf-base deeply cordate, slightly auriculate. Plant strongly hirsute

1. C. javanica


Leaf-base narrowly, shallowly cordate. Plant thinly pubescent, often appearing glabrous

3. C. laotica


1. Cnesmone javanica Blume, Bijdr.: 630. 1825; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 5: 466. 1888; Ridl., Fl. Mal. Pen. 3: 306. 1924; Gagnep. in Lecomte, Fl. Indo-Chine 5: 385. 1926; Backer & Bakh.f., Fl. Java 1: 490. 1963; Airy Shaw, Kew Bull. 26: 240. 1972; Phuph. in Chayam. & Welzen, Fl. Thailand 8, 1: 183, fig. 41, plate X: 1. 2005. Tragia hastata Reinw. ex Hassk., Pl. Jav. Rar.: 245. 1868. ? Cenesmon tonkinense Gagnep., Bull. Soc. Bot. France 71: 869. 1924. ? Cnesmone tonkinensis (Gagnep.) Croizat, J. Arnold Arb. 22: 429. 1941.




Plant strongly hirsute, covered with stinging hairs. Stipules triangular, 58 by 35 mm. Leaves: petiole 1.59 cm long; blade oblong or ovate, 617 by 37.5 cm, base deeply cordate, slightly auriculate, margin densely denticulate or serrulate, apex acuminate or cuspidate, surfaces with patent hairs and scattered bristles. Inflorescences 39 cm long. Flowers green. Staminate flowers many; calyx lobes triangular, about 5 mm long, acute, outside hairy; stamens nearly enveloped by the calyx-tube, filaments thick, widened towards the apex. Pistillate flowers 1 to 2 at the base of inflorescence, subsessile, sepals ovate, 710 mm long, velutinous on both surfaces; ovary densely pilose; stigmas persistent. Fruits c. 1.5 by 0.7 cm; pedicel c. 3 mm long.

    T h a i l a n d. NORTHERN: Phrae; NORTH-EASTERN: Nakhon Ratchasima; SOUTH-WESTERN: Prachuap Khiri Khan; SOUTH-EASTERN: Chon Buri; PENINSULAR: Surat Thani, Trang, Songkhla.

    D i s t r i b u t i o n. Assam, Burma, Indochina, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, Java.

    E c o l o g y. Common among limestone boulders; scattered in evergreen forest or bamboo forest, sometimes in clearings. Altitude: up to 200 m.

    V e r n a c u l a r. Tam yae khrua (ตำแยเครือ) (Saraburi); ra-cha-se-khue (ราชาเซคึย) (Karen-Kanchanaburi); karang tang kwang (กะรังตังกวาง) (Peninsular).


2. Cnesmone laevis (Ridl.) Airy Shaw, Kew Bull.: 118. 1969; Kew Bull. 26: 240. 1972; Phuph. in Chayam. & Welzen, Fl. Thailand 8, 1: 183, fig. 42a-f. 2005. Tragia laevis Ridl., Bull. Misc. Inf. Kew: 368. 1923; Fl. Malay Pen. 3: 307. 1924; Croizat, J. Arnold Arbor. 22: 422. 1941.




Plant pubescent or sparsely covered with stinging hairs. Leaves: petiole 2.54 cm long, covered with white stinging hairs; blade ovate, 3.56.5 by 24 cm, base truncate, margin subentire to shallowly sinuate-denticulate or shortly lobed at base, apex acuminate, upper suface sparsely white hairy or glabrous, lower surface with numerous white stinging hairs on nerves; venation pinnate, nerves c. 3 pairs. Inflorescences opposite the leaves, 1.22.5 cm long, peduncle white-hairy. Staminate flowers: bracts linear; calyx-lobes ovate, velvety pubescent, greenish; stamens 3, filaments short, thick, connective broad, thickened. Pistillate flowers 1 or 2 at base of inflorescence, sepals subulate, white hairy; ovary pubescent. Fruits deeply 3-lobed, about 5 mm in diameter, red brown pubescent.

    T h a i l a n d. PENINSULAR: Surat Thani (Khao Phra Rahu, 200 m.).

    D i s t r i b u t i o n. N. Malaysia (Langkawi Is.).

    E c o l o g y. On limestone rocks or slopes. Altitude: c. 200 m.

    V e r n a c u l a r. Tamyae rahu (ตำแยราหู) (Peninsular).


3. Cnesmone laotica (Gagnep.) Croizat, J. Arnold Arbor. 22: 428. 1941; Airy Shaw, Kew Bull.: 117. 1969; Kew Bull. 26: 241. 1972; Phuph. in Chayam. & Welzen, Fl. Thailand 8, 1: 186, fig. 42g-k, 43. 2005. Cenesmon laoticum Gagnep., Bull. Soc. Bot. France 71: 867. 1924.




Plant 14 m long, thinly pubescent with stinging hairs, often appearing glabrous. Stipules triangular, about 5 mm long, caducous. Leaves: petiole 1.25 cm long; blade ovate or obovate, 511(19) by 25.5(7.5) cm; apex cuspidate or abruptly acuminate; base narrlowly, shallowly, margins denticulate to dentate, appressed hairy on both surfaces, soon glabrous; basal nerves 35, further 5 pairs along midrib. Inflorescences axillary, sometimes opposite to the leaves. Staminate flower disciform or conical, c. 3 mm in diameter; calyx-lobes broad-ovate, about 2.5 mm long, short appressed hairy on both surfaces; stamens with large, short filaments. Pistillate flower: sepals broadly ovate, c. 4 mm long, densely hairy outside, ciliate. Fruits c. 1 by 0.6 cm. Seeds globose, c. 4 mm in diameter, yellowish, dusty.

    T h a i l a n d. NORTHERN: Nan (Doi Phu Kha, Khun Mo Tom), Lampang (Ngao), Phrae (Rongkuang); NORTH-EASTERN: Phetchabun (Lom Khao); EASTERN: Chaiyaphum (Nam Phrom), Nakhon Ratchasima (Pak Chong); SOUTH-WESTERN: Kanchanaburi (Erawan), Ratchaburi (Thung Kang Yang); CENTRAL: Saraburi (Khao Talu).

    D i s t r i b u t i o n. Cambodia, Laos.

    E c o l o g y. In evergreen and dry evergreen forest on limestone and sandstone. Altitude: 1001025 m.

    V e r n a c u l a r. Han salit (หานสลิด) (Chiang Mai); han boek (หานเบิก) (Lampang); tarang tang kwang (ตะรังตังกวาง) (Phrae).