Spigelia anthelmia
[Wormgrass, Pinkroot, West Indian Pinkroot]

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Close-up views:

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In October 2015, I collected some fruits with the intention to take a closer look at its seeds and propagate them. It was then that I found out the dispersion of its seeds was via an explosive mechanism, with the splitting of the seed pods that sent the seeds flying off in different directions, similar to that of the balsam fruits. Each tiny seed is about 1 millimetre long.

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In homeopathy, this herb is use to expel parasitic worms from the body [1-6] and heart diseases [7-8]. However, the whole plant is poisonous as it contains the alkaloid spigeline or spiganthine that acts upon the heart.

This plant is native of South America but now naturalized in Africa, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka and Australia [9]. It was first reported in India in 1987 and since then, it had spread across many places in India [10-14]. The report by Meena in 2014 [11] stated that the plant was probably a native of Malaysia. Interestingly, the first record in Malaysia came out in 2013 in the state of Selangor [15]. However, Ahmad Fuad Morad had already taken pictures of this herb in Ipoh, Malaysia in 2011. For Indonesia and Thailand, the first reports were in 1989 [16] and 2006 [17] respectively. My first encounter of this plant in Singapore was in December 2007. But, the botanist Joseph Lai had already described the sighting of this plant way before me in his website called EARTH. Unfortunately, the website was closed.


[1] Oluwakemi K. Sobiyi AO, Tom A. In vitro anthelmintic activity of Heliotropium indicum, Senna fistula and Spigelia anthelmia used as worm expeller in South West Nigeria. Bangladesh J Pharmacol 2015;10:417-422. | Read article |

[2] Jegede OC, Agbede RI, Ajanusi JO, Adaudi AO. Anthelmintic screening of fractions of Spigelia anthelmia Linn extracts against experimental Nippostrongylus braziliensis in rats. Veterinarski arhiv 2009;79(2):189-197.

[3] Ademola IO, Fagbemi BO, Idowu SO. Anthelmintic activity of Spigelia anthelmia extract against gastrointestinal nematodes of sheep. Parasitol Res 2007;101(1):63-69.

[4] Jegede OC, Ajanusi JO, Adaudi AO, Agbede RI. Anthelmintic efficacy of extracts of Spigelia anthelmia Linn on experimental Nippostrongylus braziliensis in rats. J Vet Sci 2006;7(3):229-232. | Read article |

[5] Assis LM, Bevilaqua CM, Morais SM, Vieira LS, Costa CT, Souza JA. Ovicidal and larvicidal activity in vitro of Spigelia anthelmia Linn. extracts on Haemonchus contortus. Vet Parasitol 2003;117(1-2):43-49.

[6] Ade Morais SM, Bevilaqua CM, Souza JA, Assis LM, Chemical investigation of Spigelia anthelmia Linn. used in Brazilian folk medicine as anthelmintic. Rev bras farmacogn 2002;12:81-82. | Read article |

[7] Hubner H, Vierling W, Brandt W, Reiter M, Achenbach H. Minor constituents of Spigelia anthelmia and their cardiac activities. Phytochemistry 2001;57(2):285-296.

[8] Achenbach H, Hubner H, Vierling W, Brandt W, Reiter M. Spiganthine, the cardioactive principle of Spigelia anthelmia. J Nat Prod 1995;58(7):1092-1096.

[9] Sasidharan N, Dantus KJ. Note on three exotics getting naturalized in Kerala. Int J Adv Res 2014;2(10):1065-1068.

[10] Kamble RB, Hate S, Chaturvedi A. New additions to the Flora of Nagpur District, Maharashtra. J New Biological Reports 2013;2(1):9-13. | Read article |

[11] Meena SL, Krishna PH, Jadhav CR, Maina V. A new generic record to the flora of Gujarat state (India): Spigelia anthelmia L. (Loganiaceae). J Econ Taxon Bot 2014;38(2):340-342 | Read article |

[12] Desai RJ, Raole VM. Spigelia anthelmia L. (Spigeliaceae): New record to the flora of Gujarat state, India. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 2013;110(3):234-236.

[13] Kamble RB, Chaturvedi A. Spigelia anthelmia L. (Spigeliaceae) - a new record from Eastern Maharashtra. Bioinfo Let 2010;7:306-308.

[14] Meena SL, Yadav BL. Spigelia anthelmia L. (Spigeliaceae): A New Generic Record to the Flora of Rajasthan. J Indian Bot Soc 2010;89(3-4):258-261.

[15] Julius A, Kamin I, Kiew R, Utteridge TMA. Gardneria and Spigelia (Loganiaceae), two genera new to the Flora of Peninsular Malaysia. Phytotaxa 2013;129.1.

[16] Galinato MI, Moody K, Piggin CM. Upland rice weeds of South and Southeast Asia. International Rice Research Institute 1999, page 154.

[17] Phonsena P. Spigelia (Loganiaceae), a new generic record for Thailand. Thai Forest Bull (Bot) 2006;34;176-178. | Read article |

Online Resource:

| Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (PROTA) |