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Thunbergia laurifolia is a vigorous climber from Asia. The generic name Thunbergia commemorates Swedish physician and botanist Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828), who was a protégé of the great Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus. The specific epithet laurifolia refers to its laurel-shaped leaves.

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description

Thunbergia laurifolia is a vigorous climber from Asia. The generic name Thunbergia commemorates Swedish physician and botanist Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828), who was a protégé of the great Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus. The specific epithet laurifolia refers to its laurel-shaped leaves.

It is cultivated as an ornamental in gardens in tropical regions and in heated glasshouses in temperate regions. It is used medicinally in Thailand and Malaysia, although it is considered an invasive in other tropical regions.

Thunbergia laurifolia leaves are reported to have detoxifying effects, and in Thailand they are used as an antidote for poisons and in the treatment of drug addiction. Herbal teas and capsules containing T. laurifolia are sold in Thailand, where they are known as rang jeud.

A Thai study published in 2012 suggested that laurel clock vine has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It concluded that it may be effective in treating inflammations caused by Opisthorchis viverrinia (southeast Asian liver fluke), a parasite that attacks the liver and is endemic in northern areas of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Thunbergia laurifolia is native to India, Burma and Malaysia. It grows in moist areas at low elevations and requires a frost-free environment.

It has been introduced to many tropical regions as an ornamental, but in countries such as Australia it is now considered an invasive weed (along with its close relative Thunbergia grandiflora ). It smothers native vegetation and is therefore considered a threat to Australia's biodiversity in several areas including remnant tropical rainforests across northern Australia.

Description

Overview: A vigorous, hairless, woody vine with tuberous roots, climbing by twining stems and reaching a length of 12 m or more in one season.

Leaves: In opposite pairs. Hairless, usually two to four times as long as they are wide. Lower half of the leaf sometimes irregularly lobed.

Flowers: Petals joined at base to form a short, broad tube with a yellowish throat, opening out into five rounded, lavender to blue (occasionally white in the wild) petals. Calyx (whorl of sepals) with glands at the edge only. 

Flowers are borne on hanging racemes (bearing four or more individual flowers) that can grow up to 1.8 m long.

Fruits: Large beaked capsules with a globose basal (fertile) portion, often compared to a duck's beak. Capsules are loculicidal (split into cells at maturity).

Laurel clock vine is similar in appearance to Thunbergia grandiflora , but has longer, thinner leaves; its young stems and leaves are hairless.

Uses

Laurel clock vine is a popular ornamental in the tropics, where it is grown for its attractive flowers and foliage.

In Thailand and Malaysia, the leaves are dried and crushed and drunk as a tea.

Cultivation

In tropical regions, laurel clock vine can be cultivated outdoors and is often grown on a trellis as a screen or over a pergola. This vigorous climber requires hard pruning each year to contain it. A slightly acidic soil is required, which should be fertile and freely draining.

In temperate climates, laurel clock vine should be grown in a heated glasshouse because it is frost-tender. When cultivated in this way, it enjoys a long and prolific flowering period (Kew's glasshouse specimens flower from March to November). Although still a vigorous climber in a glasshouse environment, its maximum size is significantly less than when it grows in the wild.

It can be propagated by seed or by using stem or root cuttings.

This species at Kew

Laurel clock vine can be seen in the tropical section (zone 1) of Kew's Princess of Wales Conservatory. This specimen was planted in 2012, and the adjacent image shows just one year's growth!

The cultivar Thunbergia laurifolia 'Augustas Blue' can be seen in Kew's Palm House.

Pressed and dried specimens of Thunbergia laurifolia are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details of some of these specimens, including images, can be seen online in Kew's Herbarium Catalogue.

A specimen of Thunbergia laurifolia wood is held in Kew's Economic Botany Collection in the Sir Joseph Banks Building, where it is available to researchers by appointment.

Distribution
India, Malaysia
Ecology
Tropical forests, as a climber on trees.
Conservation
Not assessed according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Hazards

None known.

[FTEA]

Acanthaceae (part 1), Kaj Vollesen, Flora of Tropical East Africa, 2008

Morphology General Habit
Vigorous woody twiner to 25 m or more, forming large tangles and often completely covering large trees; young branches glabrous or puberulous at nodes.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves glossy; petiole 1.5–5 cm long, glabrous; lamina lanceolate to triangular ovate, largest 13–20.5 × 4–10.5 cm, apex acuminate, base truncate to cordate, without or with rounded to hastate lobes, margin subentire or with a few large teeth, glabrous, with whitish pustules along major veins above.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers in pendulous racemoid cymes to 30 cm long; peduncle to 11 cm long, glabrous, with a pair of leafy sessile bracts to 8 × 4.5 cm at base of cyme; pedicels 2–4.5 cm long, glabrous; bracteoles oblong to obovate, 2.5–4 × 1–2 cm, subacute to rounded, apiculate, truncate at base, glabrous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx an entire or slightly undulate puberulous rim.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla pale mauve to mauve or purple; cylindric tube ± 1 cm long; throat broadly campanulate, 3–4 cm long, 2–3 cm in diameter apically; lobes 3–4 × 3–4 cm.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Filaments
Filaments 9–15 and 11–17 mm long, glabrous; anthers narrowly oblong, 7–9 mm long, indistinctly apiculate, bearded at base and almost to apex along one side with long hairs with small lateral spinules; all thecae spurred, spurs 4–5 mm long, flattened.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule subglobose, 13–15 mm in diameter, glabrous, beak 25–30 mm long, parallel-sided.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seed 8–12 mm in diameter.
Ecology
Margins and clearings of wet lowland rainforest, sometimes disturbed; 850–1200 m
Distribution
Range: Native of India and SE Asia, widely cultivated in East Africa and occasionally naturalized Flora districts: U4 T3 Range: Uganda. Range: Native of India and SE Asia, widely cultivated in East Africa and occasionally naturalized Range: Tanzania.

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental, medicine.

Native to:

Andaman Is., Assam, East Himalaya, Malaya, Myanmar, Nicobar Is., Vietnam

Introduced into:

Cook Is., Fiji, Hawaii, Leeward Is., Marianas, Mexico Southwest, Ogasawara-shoto, Peru, Society Is., Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Wallis-Futuna Is., Windward Is.

English
Laurel clock vine

Thunbergia laurifolia Lindl. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Feb 1, 2009 Nguyen van Du et al. [HNK 1330], Vietnam K000610257
Nov 20, 2003 Monyrak, M. et al. [451], Cambodia K000184301
Nov 1, 1953 s.coll. [s.n.] K000838896
Nov 1, 1953 Maingay, A.C. [1755], Malaysia K000838897
Griffith, W. [s.n.], India K000357683 syntype

First published in Gard. Chron. 1856: 260 (1856)

Accepted by

  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Barooah, C. & Ahmed, I. (2014). Plant diversity of Assam. A checklist of Angiosperms and Gymnosperms: 1-599. Assam science technology and environment council, India.
  • Brako, L. & Zarucchi, J.L. (1993). Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 45: i-xl, 1-1286. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Dassanayake (ed.) (1998). A Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon 12: 1-390. Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. PVT. LTD., New Delhi, Calcutta.
  • Fosberg, F.R., Sachet, M.-H., Oliver, R. (1979). A geographical checklist of the Micronesian Dicotyledonae Micronesica; Journal of the College of Guam 15: 41-295.
  • Garcia-Mendoza, A.J. & Meave, J.A. (eds.) (2012). Diversidad florística de Oaxaca: de musgos a angiospermas (colecciones y listas de especies), ed. 2: 1-351. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
  • Kobayashi, S. & Ono, M. (1987). A Revised List of Vascular Plants Indigenous and Introduced to the Bonin (Ogasawara) and the Volcano (Kazan) Islands Ogasawara Research 13: 1-55.
  • Kress, W.J., DeFilipps, R.A., Farr, E. & Kyi, D.Y.Y. (2003). A Checklist of the Trees, Shrubs, Herbs and Climbers of Myanmar Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 45: 1-590. Smithsonian Institution.
  • Lê, T.C. (2005). Danh l?c các loài th?c v?t Vi?t Nam 3: 1-1248. Hà N?i : Nhà xu?t b?n Nông nghi?p.
  • Morat, P. & Veillon, J.-M. (1985). Contributions à la conaissance de la végétation et de la flore de Wallis et Futuna Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Section B, Adansonia 7: 259-329.
  • Pandey, R.P. & Dilwakar, P.G. (2008). An integrated check-list flora of Andaman and Nicobar islands, India Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 32: 403-500.
  • Smith, A.C. (1991). Flora Vitiensis Nova. A new flora for Fiji (Spermatophytes only) 5: 1-626. Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai.
  • Sykes, W.R. (2016). Flora of the Cook Islands: 1-973. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii.
  • Turner, I.M. (1995). A catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Malaya Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 47(1): 1-346.
  • Vollesen, K. (2008). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Acanthaceae(1): 1-285.
  • Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. & Sohmer, S.H. (1999). Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, rev. ed., 1: 1-988. University of Hawai'i Press, Bishop Museum Press.
  • Welsh, S.L. (1998). Flora Societensis: 1-420. E.P.S. Inc. Utah.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Australian Government, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (2003). Alert List for Environmental Weeds. (Accessed 2 May 2013).
  • Chan, E. W. C., Eng, S. Y., Tan, Y. P. & Wong, Z. C. (2011). Phytochemistry and pharmacological properties of Thunbergia laurifolia: a review. The Pharmacognosy Journal 3 (24): August 2011.
  • Herklots, G. (1976). Flowering Tropical Climbers. Dawson, Folkestone & Science History Publications, New York.
  • Llamas, K. A. (2003). Tropical Flowering Plants: A Guide to Identification and Cultivation. Timber Press Inc., Portland, Oregon.
  • Royal Horticultural Society (2013). Plant Selector: Thunbergia grandiflora.
     (Accessed 7 May 2013).
  • Staples, G. W. & Herbst, D. R. (2005). A Tropical Garden Flora. Bishop Museum, Hawaii.
  • Whistler, W. A. (2000). Tropical Ornamentals: A Guide. Timber Press Inc., Portland, Oregon.
  • Wonkchalee, O. et al. (2012). Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of Thunbergia laurifolia Linn. on experimental opisthorchiasis. Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, 40002, Thailand.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Barooah, C. & Ahmed, I. (2014). Plant diversity of Assam. A checklist of Angiosperms and Gymnosperms: 1-599. Assam science technology and environment council, India.
  • Brako, L. & Zarucchi, J.L. (1993). Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 45: i-xl, 1-1286. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Dassanayake (ed.) (1998). A Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon 12: 1-390. Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. PVT. LTD., New Delhi, Calcutta.
  • Fosberg, F.R., Sachet, M.-H., Oliver, R. (1979). A geographical checklist of the Micronesian Dicotyledonae Micronesica; Journal of the College of Guam 15: 41-295.
  • Garcia-Mendoza, A.J. & Meave, J.A. (eds.) (2012). Diversidad florística de Oaxaca: de musgos a angiospermas (colecciones y listas de especies), ed. 2: 1-351. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
  • Kobayashi, S. & Ono, M. (1987). A Revised List of Vascular Plants Indigenous and Introduced to the Bonin (Ogasawara) and the Volcano (Kazan) Islands Ogasawara Research 13: 1-55.
  • Kress, W.J., DeFilipps, R.A., Farr, E. & Kyi, D.Y.Y. (2003). A Checklist of the Trees, Shrubs, Herbs and Climbers of Myanmar Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 45: 1-590. Smithsonian Institution.
  • Lê, T.C. (2005). Danh l?c các loài th?c v?t Vi?t Nam 3: 1-1248. Hà N?i : Nhà xu?t b?n Nông nghi?p.
  • Morat, P. & Veillon, J.-M. (1985). Contributions à la conaissance de la végétation et de la flore de Wallis et Futuna Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Section B, Adansonia 7: 259-329.
  • Pandey, R.P. & Dilwakar, P.G. (2008). An integrated check-list flora of Andaman and Nicobar islands, India Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 32: 403-500.
  • Smith, A.C. (1991). Flora Vitiensis Nova. A new flora for Fiji (Spermatophytes only) 5: 1-626. Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai.
  • Sykes, W.R. (2016). Flora of the Cook Islands: 1-973. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii.
  • Turner, I.M. (1995). A catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Malaya Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 47(1): 1-346.
  • Vollesen, K. (2008). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Acanthaceae(1): 1-285.
  • Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. & Sohmer, S.H. (1999). Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, rev. ed., 1: 1-988. University of Hawai'i Press, Bishop Museum Press.
  • Welsh, S.L. (1998). Flora Societensis: 1-420. E.P.S. Inc. Utah.

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Bot. Mag. 83: t. 4985 (1857)
  • Gard. Chron. 1856: 260 (1856)
  • Lebrun & Stork, Enum. Pl. Afr. Trop. 4: 507 (1997).
  • Verh. Kon. Nederl. Akad. Wetensch., Afd. Natuurk., 2nd. Ser., 50(4): 47 (1955)

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0