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Family Sphenocleaceae
Sphenoclea zeylanica Gaertn.
Jian ban hua

Scientific names Common names
Pongatium indicum Lam. Mais-mais (Tag.)
Pongatium spongiosum Blanco Chickenspike (Engl.)
Pongatium zeylanicum Kuntze Gooseweed (Engl.)
Rapinia herbacea Lour. Hollowstem (Engl.)
Reichelia palustris Blanco Wedgewort (Engl.)
Schrebera pongati DC.  
Sphenoclea pongatium A.DC.  
Sphenoclea zeylanicum Gaertn.  
Spenoclea zeylanicum Gaertn. is accepted. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Jian ban hua.
FRENCH; Herbes aux oies.
INDIA: Panileheti (Assam), Kopuram thaangi, Jhil marich, Hhekhrok.
SPANISH:  Desconocido.
THAI: Phak pum pa, Phak kum pa, Phak pot, Phak pot na, Phak pum pla.

Gen info
- Sphenoclea is a genus of succulent erect annual herbs with two species: S. zeylanicum and S. pongatium.
- The genus is placed alone in family Sphenoleaceae, a somewhat uncertain position. (14)

Sphenoclea zeylanicum is an erect, branched herb, up to 150 cm tall. Leaves are simple, spirally arranged, light green; blades oblong to lance-shaped, narrowed at the tip, 10 cm long, borne on short stalks. Inflorescences are green, cylindrical, 7.5 cm long with a dense terminal spike; flowers densely crowded, white to greenish, sessile. Fruit is a flat, 4-5 mm diameter globular capsule. Seeds are yellow brown, 0.5 mm long. (3)

Sphenoclea zeylanicum is a branched annual herb, up to 1.5 m tall. Stems hollow. Leaves lanceolate, narrowly ovate to elliptic, up to 12 × 5 cm, hairless; margin entire; petiole up to 1.5 cm long. Flowers in conical-cylindric spikes, up to 12 cm long. Corolla very small, white, greenish or pink yellow. Fruit a capsule, 4-5 mm in diameter, dehiscing below the calyx lobes, leaving the base attached to the rhachis. (Flora of Zimbabwe) (4)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Also native to Afghanistan, Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon,
Central Africa, Chad, China, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Hainan, India, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jawa, Lesser Sunda Is, Malawi, Malaya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Territory, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Is., Somalia. Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Swaziland Tadzhikistan, Taiwan. Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zaire, Ziimbabwe. (1)
- Listed as one of the worst weeds in the world.
- A common weed in rice paddies, where it can cause yield losses from 25-50%. (1)

- Study for secondary metabolites have yielded alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, phenols, steroids, phlobatannins, saponins, and cardiac glycosides.
- Study of leaf, stem, and flower extracts in four different solvents yielded significant phytochemicals such as flavonoids, alkaloids, steroids, etc. Quantitatively, phenols were the most abundant phytochemical in the methanol extract.  (5)
- In a study for nutritive and neutraceutical value of leaves, Sphenoclea zeylanica showed major nutritional components (% of dry weight) with moisture content of 93.25, crude protein 23.73, total carbohydrate   7.90, lipid 2,59, crude fiber 13.73, ash content 16.91, and calorific value (Kcal/100g) of 149.83. (9)
- For free amino acid, dietary antioxidants and in vitro antioxidant activity, S. zeylanica yielded 10.25 mg/g amino acid,  phenolics 4.37 mgGAE/g, flavonoids 3.17 mgRE/g, DPPH-RSA 72.06%, DPPH-IC50 2.88 mg/ml. (9)
- Beta carotene extremely high in edible parts; high ascorbic acid; low calcium; low iron, low protein. Edible portions contain some phytic acid. (13)

Studies have suggest antioxidant, antimicrobial, phytoremediative properties.

Parts used
Leaves, whole plant.


- Young leaves and tips of older leaves are edible; usually eaten after slight boiling or steaming, or mixed with grated coconut.
- In India, consumed by the Bodo people in Assam as vegetable. (6)
- In Bali, Indonesia, cultivated as a vegetable crop by local farmers..
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Thailand, the herbal weed is used for skin disorders.
- In India, used for treatment of ulcers. (11) Tribes of Tripura, northeast India, used decoction of whole fresh plant for bloody dysentery. (

Study evaluated the amino acid profiles, antimicrobial property, and anti-nutritional contents of two wild edible plants, Sphenoclea zeylanica and Sphaerantus peguensis. S. zeylanica yielded higher total amino acid content of 42.87 mg/g dry weight. The methanol extract extract showed antibacterial activity against Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Proteus vulgaris, and Escherichia coli. S. zeylanica showed higher levels of anti-nutritional contents compared to S. peguensis. (6)
Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of leaves, flowers, and stem extracts of S. zeylanica using zone of inhibition method against B. subtilis, P. vulgaris, S. aureus, C. coli, C. albicans, A. niger, S. typhi, and B. cereus. The leaf extract showed notable inhibition of microbial growth against tested organisms, which was attributed to various secondary metabolites. (7)
Effect of Ethanol Concentration on Antioxidant Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated the effect of concentration of ethanol solvent on antioxidant activity of gonda leaf extract using ultrasonication method. Results showed ethanol concentration had a significant effect on yield, total phenol, total flavonoids, total tannins, and antioxidant activity. A 70% ethanol concentration was best treatment with highest antioxidant activity of 75.75% with IC50 of 123.38 mg/L, 22.86% yield, total phenol extract 40.94 mg GAE/g, total flavonoids 23.48 mg QE/g, total tannins 82.10 mg TAE/g. (8)
Phytoremediation / Cadmium / Leaves: Study evaluated the efficacy of three weed species (Ipomoea aquatica, Sphenoclea zeylanica, Pistia stratiotes) associated with low-land rice to extract Cd from rice paddy soil near two industrial establishments in rural Philippines. Results showed the weeds can be used for phytoremediation of Cd-contaminated soil. (10)


October 2022

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Sphenoclea zeylanica / by Vengolis /  CC by SA 3.0 / click on image to go to source page Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / Sphenocleaceae: Sphenoclea zeylanica--Flowering plants / amara det. John Rey Callado / Leaf / Copyright © 2020 by Mark Gregory Q Rule (contact: pieter.pelser@canterbury.ac.nz) [ref. DOL148556] / Non-Commercial Use / Phytoimages.siu.edu
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Sphenoclea zeylanica: Gooseweed / by Renjusplace /  CC by SA 4.0 / click on image to go to source page Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Sphenoclea zeylanicum / Plants of the World Online
Sphenoclea zeylanica / Wikipedia
Sphenoclea zeylanica / Rice Knowledge Bank
Chickenspike / EOL
Evaluation of phytocheical qualitative and quantitative analysis of Sphenoclea zeylanica / J Gowri, P Arockia Sahayaraj, A Seik Dawood, A Angelin Prema / World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences,  
Amino Acid Profiles, Antimicrobial Activity, and Anti-Nutritional Contents of Two Wild Edible Plants (Sphenoclea zeylanica Gaertn. and Sphaerantus peguensis Kurz ex C.B. Clarke) / Hwiyang Narzary, Sanjay Basumatary / Current Biotechnology, 2019; 8(1): pp 53-63 / pISSN: 2211-5501 / eISSN: 2211-551X / DOI: 10.2174/2211550108666190614155321
Actimicrobial Activity of Leaf, Flower, and Stem Extracts of Sphenoclea zeylanica / J Gowri, P Arockia Sahayaraj, M Amaladasan / International Journal of Applied Sciences and Biotechnology, 2016; 4(3): pp 325-329 / DOI: 10.3126/ijasbt.v4i3.15760
Effect of Ethanol Concentration in Ultrasonification Method on Antoxidant Activity of Gonda Leaf Extract (Sphenoclea zeylanica) / Anisa Intan Hartanti, I Dewa Gde Mayun Permana, G A Kadek Diah Puspawati / Itepa: Jurnal Imu dan Teknologi Pangan, 2021; 10(2): pp 163-171 / eISSN: 2527-8010
Evaluation of nutritive and nutraceutical value of wild non-conventional leafy herbs in Assam, North East India / Chandra K R Saikia, Durlav N R Singha, Arun K R Handique / Crop Res., 2020; 55(5-6): pp 268-275 / DOI: 10.31830/2454-1761.2020.037
Potentials of Aquatic Weeds (Ipomoea aquatica, Sphenoclea zeylanica, Pista stratiotes) for Cadmium Phytoremediation / Ma Leah Borines, Candelaria Calibo, Ma Theresa Loreto, Edgardo Tulin / Journal of Science, Engineering and Technology, 2019; Vol 7 / eISSN: 2545-9732 / pISSN: 2545-9724
Ethnobotanical studies of weed plants in rice field ecosystem / A Arunesh, P Karuppaiah, Ajish Muraleedharan / Journal of Floriculture and Landscaping 2018; 4: pp 12-14 /
DOI: 10.25081/jfcls.2018/v4.3773

Practice Pattern of Traditional Pharmaceutical Formulations by the Tribes of Tripura, Northeast India / Koushik Majumdar, B K Datta / Global Journal of Pharmacology, 2013; 7(4): pp 442-447 / ISSN: 1992-0075 / DOI: 10.5829/idosi.gjp.2013.7.4.7652
Chickenspike (Sphenoclea zeylanica) / World Vegetable Center
Sphenoclea / Wikipedia

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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