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Short Notes on Nature Singapore

26 April 2020 | Creeping Lickstoop | Dentella repens |

photo Small herbaceous plants are one of my favourite group of study subjects. They are easily obtainable, usually at no cost, and might simply grew out of nowhere from any wet soil. When I found something unknown growing out of the soil in my pot, I normally left it alone and observed it till I determined its identity. If it looked like a species that I might not have seen before, I might even transfer it over to a new pot for further observation. That was how I got hold of Dentella repens (Creeping Lickstoop).

photo I could not recall when it first appeared in my pot. At one stage, I had cleared every single plant. But, it had probably dropped plenty of tiny seeds in the soil by then. Recently, it started to grow again in one of the pot. I decide to use it as mini-ground cover in one of my pot that housed a Malpighia glabra (Barbados Cherry). This Barbados Cherry was about 9 years old now, given to me in the form of a stem cutting from my neighbour back in 2011. It had flowered a few times but no fruiting had taken place.

As its common name implied, Creeping Lickstoop is a creeper. It kept its stem parallel to the soil surface where roots emerged from the nodes along the stem. In botanical term, the growth pattern classified it as a prostrate herb. It provided an aesthetic feel when a whole bunch of them grew over the edge of the pot and hanging down from the edge.

This small creeper was not commonly known or abundance in Singapore. Though the plant is present in many parts of the world, there were very few publications that focused on it [1, 2]. In India, the plant is used for poulticing sores [3], loose motion in infant, blood pressure [4], purify the blood, improve eyesight and constipation [5]. However, the descriptions on its uses were very brief in those publications.


[1] Razafimandimbison SG, Manjato N. First record of Dentella repens (Rubiaceae) from Madagascar. Candollea 2019;74(1):43-45. | Read article |

[2] Devi HM, Raju PK. Embryology of two species of Dentella (Dentella repens and Denteila serpyllifolia). Proc Indian Acad Sci 1980;89(3):213-218. | Read article |

[3] Santhoshkumar B, Satyanarain S. Herbal remedies of wetlands macrophytes in India. Int J Pharm Biosci 2010;2:1-12. | Read abstract |

[4] Bhattacharjya DK, Borah PC. Medicinal weeds of crop fields and role of women in rural health and hygiene in Nalbari district, Assam. Indian J Traditional Knowledge 2008;7(3):501-504. | Read article |

[5] Singh P, Ali SJ. Antidiabetic herbal medicines of Eastern U.P. Indian J L Sci 2012;1(2):105-107.

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