Scleromitrion diffusum
[Snake-needle Grass, Bai Hua She She Cao]
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Close-up views:

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Plant Notes

| Last updated: November 2022 |

In the Plants of the World Online website, the accepted botanical name of this plant is Scleromitrion diffusum while both Oldenlandia diffusa and Hedyotis diffusa are treated as synonyms. In the 2019 Flora of Singapore publication on Rubiaceae, the accepted name was indicated as Hedyotis diffusa. There were some pictures of this plant in page 120 of this publication that resembled the pictures above.

According to a 2021 publication [1], when the name Hedyotis diffusa was first published in 1798, the author was not clear in his description of the flower arrangement (i.e. whether he was referring to "a solitary flower or an inflorescence"). As a result, there were different interpretations along the years and the name was moved around among different plants which is rather confusing even up till this point. The assignment of this plant to the genus Scleromitrion seemed to take place in 2013 [2]. This 2013 system was adopted in a 2017 Taiwan publication as well [3].

image A search done in the PubMed website on 5 November 2022 resulted in 3 publications that mentioned Scleromitrion diffusum; one each in 2001, 2021 and 2022. On the other hand, Hedyotis diffusa and Oldenlandia diffusa were mentioned in 184 and 79 publications respectively with their first mentioned in a publication were in 1979 and 1964 respectively (see image on the right). It appeared that the uptake of the accepted name Scleromitrion diffusum was uncommon among researchers.

In the iNaturalist website viewed on 5 November 2022, there were 4 records of Scleromitrion diffusum from Singapore with the earliest one dated in February 2021. Both Oldenlandia diffusa and Hedyotis diffusa are treated as synonyms in this website.

Reference:

[1] Siu TY, Yik MHY, Boufford DE, Shaw PC, Lau DTW. (2813) Proposal to conserve the name Hedyotis diffusa (Oldenlandia diffusa, Scleromitrion diffusum) (Rubiaceae) with a conserved type. TAXON 2021;70(2):443-444. | Read article |

[2] Guo X, Wang RJ, Simmons MP, But PPH, Yu J. 2013. Phylogeny of the Asian Hedyotis-Oldenlandia complex (Spermacoceae, Rubiaceae): Evidence for high levels of polyphyly and the parallel evolution of diplophragmous capsules. Molec Phylogen Evol 2013;67(1):110-122. | Read abstract |

[3] Hsu TC, Chen ZH. Scleromitrion sirayanum (Rubiaceae: Spermacoceae), a new species of the Hedyotis-Oldenlandia complex in Taiwan. Taiwania 2017;62(2):151-156. | Read article |

In NPark's Flora & Fauna Web viewed on 5 November 2022, pictures of a slightly different-looking Hedyotis diffusa was displayed. It had flower stalks (pedicels) that were very short or almost non-existence. According to the Flora of China website, the flower stalk of Oldenlandia diffusa should have a length of 4-20 millimetres.

In September 2020, I finally found got to see the plant that was shown in NParks' website (pictures below). It was planted in a roof-top garden as ground cover. I doubt this plant is Hedyotis diffusa. It looked more like Scleromitrion brachypodum found in a Japanese website.

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Close-up views:

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Online Resources

| Plants of the World Online | Flora of China | Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) |

Publications

[2022] Xu L, Li Y, Ji J, Lai Y, Chen J, Ding T, Li H, Ding B, Ge W. The anti-inflammatory effects of Hedyotis diffusa Willd on SLE with STAT3 as a key target. J Ethnopharmacol 2022;298:115597. | Read article |

[2021] Qian K, Fu D, Jiang B, Wang Y, Tian F, Song L, Li L. Mechanism of Hedyotis diffusa in the treatment of cervical cancer. Front Pharmacol 2021;12:808144. | Read article |

[2020] Han X, Zhang X, Wang Q, Wang L, Yu S. Antitumor potential of Hedyotis diffusa Willd: A systematic review of bioactive constituents and underlying molecular mechanisms. Biomed Pharmacother 2020;130:110735. | Read article |

[2020] Lu L, Zhan S, Liu X, Zhao X, Lin X, Xu H. Antitumor Effects and the Compatibility mechanisms of herb pair Scleromitrion diffusum (Willd.) R. J. Wang-Sculellaria barbata D. Don. Front Pharmacol 2020;11:292. | Read article |

[2016] Chen R, He J, Tong X, Tang L, Liu M. The Hedyotis diffusa Willd. (Rubiaceae): A review on phytochemistry, pharmacology, quality control and pharmacokinetics. Molecules 2016;21(6):710. | Read article |


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