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Family Asclepiadaceae
Hoya imbricata Decne

Scientific names Common names
Hoya imbricata Decne Paui-pauikan (Tag.)
Accepted infraspecifics Pikot-pikot (Agusan del Sur)
Hoya imbricata subsp. imbricata Waxflower (Engl.)
Conchophyllum maximum H.Karst. Wax plant (Engl.)
Hoya imbricata var. basicordata Koord. Wax vine (Engl.)
Hoya maxima (H.Karst.) Warb.  
Hoya pseudomaxima Koord.  
Hoya imbricata subsp. megapollinia Kloppenb.  
Hoya imbricata Decne. is an accepted species with two accepted infraspecifics. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Gen info
Hoya imbricata is a species of plant in the genus Hoya native to the Philippines and the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. It is unusual for its large, decorative, mottled green and purple dome-shaped leaves, about 25 cm diameter, which offer shelter to ant colonies. (2)

Paui-pauikan is a smooth, epiphytic, woody vine climbing or cleaving to tree trunks. Stems are wiry and form rootlets. Leaves are broadly ovate or rounded, 6 to 12 centimeters wide, heart-shaped at the base, rounded at the tip, somewhat leathery and rigid, and reddish-purple; the upper surface is convex and smooth, the lower surface concave, hairy and inhabited by ants. Inflorescences are borne on leafless stems, almost stalkless, with many small, odorless, velvety and creamy-white flowers, 8 to 10 millimeters in diameter. Corolla-lobes are very slender, pointed, reflexed, smooth on the outside, and hairy within.

Additional info
Succulent leaves have the appearance of waterlily pads, and are like upturned dinner plates, convex on the inner surface, hugging tree trunks on which the plant grows. Plant provides a network of roots beneath each leaf, exploiting nutrients from the presence of ant colonies. (2)

The leaves typically grow close together, overlapping one another like roofing shingles or fish scales (the specific epithet "imbricata" refers to this similarity to roofing tiles). Ant colonize the space beneath the leaves, using adjacent leaves as "nurseries", food storage, or specialized rooms for the ant colony. The plant may absorb a significant amount of carbon dioxide exhaled by ants, providing the plants carbon needs for production of sugar, proteins and lipids. (3)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Found on tree trunks at low and medium altitudes in Bontoc, Rizal and Laguna Provinces; and in Busuanga.
- Also native to Sulawesi. (4)

Parts used


- Leaves applied externally as a poultice to ripen boils.
- A mixture of burned, charred and powdered leaves - triturated, mixed with coconut oil and stirred thoroughly - is applied to old wounds or varicose ulcers ("bangkukang") for rapid cicatrization.

No studies found.


Updatde August 2023 / November 2018 / December 2013

IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph / Plant of the Month Hoya Imbricata by Bruce Brethauer / © photo by Merlin Sy / click on image or link to go to source page / COLUMBUS-CACTUS-CLUB
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / File:Hoya imbricata01.jpg / http://www.botanicus.org/page/699485# Philippine Journal of Science vol15 (1919)
Sijfert Hendrik Koorders (1863-1919) / 1919 / Public Domain / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Image : Hoya imbricata / leaf / © TropicsAtHome / Non-commercial use / image modified / click on image or link to go to source page / TropicsAtHome
Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Plant of the Month / Hoya Imbricata / by Bruce Brethauer / Columbus-Cactus-Club
Hoya imbricata / Wikipedia
Hoya imbricata / Bruce Brethauer / The Central Ohio Cactus and Succulent Society
Hoya imbricata / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Ethnomedicinal plants used for the treatment of cuts and wounds by the Agusan Manobo of Sibagat, Agusan del Sur, Philippines / Mark Llyod G Dapar, Ulrich Meve, Sigrid Liede-Schumann, Grebecio Jonathan D Alejandro /  Ethnobotany Research & Applications, 2020 / DOI: 10.32859/era.19.31.1-18

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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