Flora of Thailand



31. Dalechampia


S.S. Larsen


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Genus description

Identification key

Species descriptions




L., Sp. Pl.: 1054. 1753; Airy Shaw, Kew Bull. 26: 251. 1972; Webster, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 81: 96. 1994; Radcl.-Sm., Gen. Euphorbiacearum: 262. 2001; S.S.Larsen in Chayam. & Welzen, Fl. Thailand 8, 1: 226. 2005; G.L.Webster in Kubitzki, Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 11: 154, Fig. 35. 2014 Cremophyllum Scheidw., Bull. Acad. Roy. Sci. Bruxelles 9: 23. 1842 Rhopalostylis Klotzsch ex Baill., Adansonia 5: 317. 1865 Megalostylis S.Moore, J. Bot. 54: 208. 1916.


Erect or mainly twining herbs or shrubs, monoecious. Indumentum simple and stinging hairs.  Stipules persistent.  Leaves spirally arranged, simple to palmatifid to trifoliolate to palmate, petiolate, base often with 2 (stipelliform) glands above, margin entire to usually serrate or dentate.  Inflorescence bilaterally partite, subtended by a pair of subopposite often showy involucral  bracts, unlobed or palmatifid with a pair of stipules; the pistillate flowers in a contracted dichasium inserted above the lower involucral bract subtended by a lower  bract and 1 or 2 fused upper bractlets; staminate inflorescence terminal, but apparently  inserted between pistillate cymule and upper involucral bract; involucel of pistillate subinflorescence of distinct or united bracts; bractlets of staminate flowers all or partly resiniferous, often lamellate.  Flowers symmetric; petals and disc absent. Staminate flowers pedicellate, pedicel usually articulate; sepals 4 or 5, valvate, recurving at anthesis, stamens (8)10-30(-100), filaments connate, anthers with 2 thecae.  Pistillate flowers subsessile; sepals 5–12, entire or divided, imbricate; ovary 3-locular; 1 ovule per locule; stylar column elongated sometimes lobed or discoidal at apex.  Fruit a capsule subtended by an accrescent calyx, often armed with stiff hairs.  Seeds subglobose, with or without caruncle.

    About 110 species, mostly American (Neotropics). In Thailand 3 species. Classification: Subfam. Acalyphoideae, tribe Plukenetieae, subtribe Dalechampiinea.


Key to the species



Leaves simple, unlobed

3. D. falcata


Leaves deeply 3-lobate or 3-foliolate



Leaves deeply 3-lobate 

1. D. bidentata


Leaves 3-foliolate

2. D. elongata


1.  Dalechampia bidentata Blume, Bijd. 631.1825; Müll.Arg. in DC., Prodr. 15, 2: 1243. 1886; Backer & Bakh.f., Fl. Java 1: 492. 1963; Airy Shaw, Kew Bull. 23: 121. 1969;  Kew Bull. 26: 251. 1972; S.S.Larsen in Chayam. & Welzen, Fl. Thailand 8, 1: 227, plate XII: 2. 2005




Twining herb with thinly hairy stems.  Stipules narowly triangular, falcate, 6–10 by 2–3 mm, patent with axillary glands.  Leaves: petiole 2–12 cm; blade deeply 3-lobate, 4–18 by 6–20 cm, mid-lobe lanceolate, side-lobes obliquely ovate-lanceolate, base deeply cordate with a pair of appendages 4 by 1 mm, narrowly triangular with 2–3 glands at base, shallowly serrate particularly towards apex, lobes acute-acuminate, puberulous on both sides, particularly below, 5-nerved.  Inflorescence solitary; involucral bracts subequal, palmatifid, margin serrulate with occasional glands, inner side subglabrous, outer sparsely hairy, 5-nerved, with 3 acute lobes, 4–5 by 2–4 cm with 2 pairs of stipules ca. 5 mm long.  Pistillate flowers subtended by 3 subrotundate  bractlets, 4–6 mm with ciliate margin; reciniferous body lamellate, ca. 2 mm high.  Staminate flowers 7–10; pedicel 5–10 mm long, articulate in upper part; sepals 4–5, ovate acute, sparsely hairy on both sides, 2–3 mm long recurved; staminal column ca. 2 mm, filament 0.5 mm anthers slightly longer.  Pistillate flowers: pedicels up to 1.5 mm longest on the median flower; sepals pinnatipartite, 10–12 segments, 3–4 mm, enlarging to 18–25 mm in fruit, covered by stiff hairs; ovary 3-lobed, depressed, ca. 1 mm across: stylar column curved, 8–10 mm; stigma discoid.  Fruit depressed spherical capsule, smooth, ca. 10 mm; columnella 3–4 mm long with 3-partite apex, each part ca. 2 mm long. Seeds globose, 3–5 mm diam, white and reddish-brown marmorate, ecarunculate.

    T h a i l a n d.— SOUTH-WESTERN: Ratchaburi (Klang Dong); SOUTH-EASTERN: Chanthaburi (Khao Soi Dao).

    D i s t r i b u t i o n.— China (Yunnan), Myanmar, Laos (?), Java (type), Sumatra.

    E c o l o g y.— In open vegetation from the lowlands. Altitude: up to 800 m.


2.  Dalechampia elongata Craib, Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew: 369. 1918; Gagnep. in Lecomte, Fl. Indo-Chine 5: 346. 1925; Airy Shaw, Kew Bull. 26: 251. 1972; S.S.Larsen in Chayam. & Welzen, Fl. Thailand 8, 1: 227. 2005.


Herbaceous climber, stems light brown, pilose.  Stipules reflexed, lanceolate-acute, 4–7 mm long, pubescent, particularly towards lower margin, margin ciliate.  Leaves trifoliolate; petiole up to 6 cm, sulcate; petiolules up to 6 mm; leaflets lanceolate oblong, the lateral ones narrower, unequal sided, up to 15 by 4.5 cm, chartaceous, base rounded to acuminate, margin ciliate, serrate-glandular, apex long acuminate, pubescent on both sides.  Inflorescence on lateral branches up to 10 cm, which each bear one leaf above the middle; peduncle shortly hairy, up to 8 cm; involucral bracts palmatifid divided to the middle or almost to the base, ca. 25 by 16 mm, provided with 2 pairs of stipules ca. 5 mm long; with 3 pistillate flowers, each subtended by a bractlet, hairy on the back, ciliate along margin, the middle one almost quadrangular, 6.5 by 7 mm broad, acuminate, cuspidate, the two lateral ones similar but smaller; pedicel pubescent, 1–2 mm; resiniferous body present.  Staminate flowers: pedicel ca. 2 mm, articulate about the middle, sepals 5, subequal, ovate elliptic, ± cucculate, ca. 4 mm; stamens many; filaments ca. 0.7 mm, hairy; anthers ca. 1 mm long.  Pistillate flowers: sepals 5, subequal, 2.5 by 2 mm, hairy on the back, margin with tentacular glands; ovary 3-locular, ca. 1 mm long, puberulous; stylar column up to ca. 1 cm, puberulous at base.  Fruit unknown.

    T h a i l a n d.— NORTHERN: Tak (Mae Mao, Kerr  3632, type K).

    D i s t r i b u t i o n.— Endemic.

    E c o l o g y.— Deciduous forests at low altitudes (type at 300 m).


3.  Dalechampia falcata Gagnep., Bull. Soc. Bot. France. 1924: 1022; in Lecomte, Fl. Indo-Chine 5: 345. 1924; S.S.Larsen in Chayam. & Welzen, Fl. Thailand 8, 1: 228. 2005.


Herb with woody base, up to ca. 1.5 m, scandent towards apex.  Stipules falciform, setaceous, reflexed, 4–6 mm.  Leaves petiole 1–2 mm, hairy; blade linear, 6–14 by 0.6–15 mm, cordate at base, long attenuate with a tendency to being falciform, margin dentate-mucronate with distant short teeth, hairy above particularly towards the margin, below short hairy, paler; basal nerves 3–5, only median one prominent.  Inflorescence terminal on lateral branches, which each bear one leaf in the middle; peduncle shortly hairy, 3–4 cm; invcolucral bracts equal, 3-lobate-palmate, lobes finely acuminate, 3 cm long, pubescent with prominent palmate venation, with 2 pairs of stipules, ovate-acuminate, ca. 8 mm; pistillate flowers 3, subtended by an orbicular, emarginate bract. Staminate flowers pedicellate, buds spherical, finely velutinous, ca. 3 mm diam, sepals 4 or 5; stamens 12–18, filament short, anther ca. 1 mm. Pistillate flowers: sepals 5, pinnatisect about 10 times on each margin, all teeth terminated by a gland; ovary ± spherical, finely velutinous, 3-lobed; stylar column curved.  Fruit surrounded by the accrescent, pinnatifid sepals covered by fine silky hairs, ca. 6 by 10 mm broad; cocci 3, spherical.  Seeds ovoid, 4.5 by 3.5 mm, whitish with darker lines, rugulose caruncle present.

    T h a i l a n d.— NORTH-EASTERN: Khon Kaen; EASTERN: Chaiyaphum.

    D i s t r i b u t i o n.— Cambodia (type), Vietnam.

    E c o l o g y.— Open, deciduous forest at low altitude.

    V e r n a c u l a r.— Ka khap kaeo (กาคาบแก้ว) (Khon Kaen); khruea sao long khao (เครือสาวหลงขาว) (Nakhon Ratchasima).