Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants banner
  • Species information
  • About
  • Resources
  • Home

Anisomeles malabarica



Botanical Name

Anisomeles malabarica (L.) R.Br. ex Sims

Sims, J. (1819) Curtis's Botanical Magazine 46: t 207. Type: ?.


Nepeta malabarica L., Mant. 2: 566(1771), Type: ?. Epimeredi salviifolius (R.Br.) Rothm., Feddes Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 53: 12(1944), Type: ?. Anisomeles inodora R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae: 503(1810), Type: Northern Australia, R. Brown; holo: BM?. Anisomeles salviifolia R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae: 503(1810), Type: In Nova Hollandia tropica, R. Brown s.n. (BM).. Anisomeles moschata R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae: 503(1810), Type: Northern Australia, R. Brown; holo: BM?.

Common name

Chodhava; Vaikantha; Karithumba


Usually flowers and fruits as a herb but occasionally grows to a height of 1 m.


Leaf bearing stems 4-angled. Leaf blades about 2-9 x 1-3.5 cm. Small pale circular glands visible with a lens on the underside of the leaf blade. Upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in white +/- prostrate hairs. Leaves aromatic when crushed.


Flowers in clusters (usually 10-15 or fewer per cluster). The basic unit of the inflorescence appears to be a secund spike. Calyx tubular-campanulate, about 6-8 mm long, lobes equal, sparsely hairy on the inner surface, acute at the apex, inner surface of calyx tube glabrous, outer surface glandular hairy. Corolla 2-lipped, about 6-10 mm sometimes to 14 mm long. Inner surface of the corolla tube with a ring of short, white, erect hairs just below the point of attachment of the staminal filaments. Stamens four, dimorphic, shorter pair with 1-celled anthers, larger pair with 2-celled anthers. Anthers purple. Staminal filaments puberulent or pubescent. Carpels fused only at the base where they are surrounded by a white, fleshy disk. Stigmas of unequal size.


Calyx hairy on the inner surface, persistent, enclosing the nutlets. Nutlets ellipsoid, about 1.5-2 x 1 mm, surface smooth and shiny, resembling seeds. Cotyledons wider and longer than the radicle.


Cotyledons orbicular, about 6-7 mm diam., undersurface hairy. First pair of true leaves elliptic to ovate, margins toothed. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade about 50 x 35 mm with about 7 or 8 large, rounded teeth (crenate) on each side, petiole about 20-25 mm long, channelled on the upper surface. Stem, petiole and both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade densely clothed in long erect multicellular hairs. Lower surface of the leaf blade with numerous pale-coloured globular glands. All seedling parts emitting a strong odour when crushed. Stems square in transverse section.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and southwards as far as south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 600 m. Usually grows in open forest but occasionally found in monsoon forest and vine thickets. Also occurs in Mauritius, SE Asia and Malesia.

Natural History

This species may have medicinal properties. ( /herbage/A1528.htm)









Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)


Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)


RFK Code