Lasia spinosa (L.) Thwaites

First published in Enum. Pl. Zeyl.: 336 (1864)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Tropical & Subtropical Asia. It is a perennial or rhizomatous geophyte and grows primarily in the wet tropical biome.


IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

LC - least concern

CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

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Swamps, riverbanks, ditches, moist places in tropical and subtropical forests, sometimes cultivated along fish ponds and rice fields. Open swampy sites, sometimes forming large stands; occasionally in boggy places in forest undergrowth (but not flowering there?).
Fl. Jul–Sep.
General Description
Herbs, 1–2m tall. Stem long creeping and stoloniferous, erect or ascending, ca. 2.5cm in diam., internodes with stout prickles. Petiole 32–125cm, laxly prickly, sometimes almost smooth; pulvinus 15–35mm, aculeate; leaf blade very variable, sagittate-hastate, 35–65 × 20–60cm, simple or divided; anterior lobe entire or pedate to near midrib, acuminate; posterior lobes strongly downwardly directed to subspreading, once or twice bifid with 3 or 4 narrow to rather long acute or acuminate lateral segments; primary lateral veins 2–4, strong, secondary lateral veins thinner, higher order veins very numerous, all venation flush above, abaxially with rather small, straight to slightly curved prickles. Peduncle to 47cm, laxly prickly. Spathe dull orange to black-red outside, dull yellow to rarely dull crimson inside, 18–35cm with caudate part to 28cm, proximally widened, very much shorter, 3–10cm wide. Stipe of spadix obscure; spadix cylindric, 3–5cm, in fruit elongated to 8cm. Tepals oblong, 1.5–3mm, apex triangular hooded, keeled. Filaments ca. 1.5 × 0.8mm; anthers ca. 0.8 × 0.8mm. Ovary ovoid, ca. 1.5mm high. Fruit obpyramidal, ca. 1cm wide, densely warty-aculeate, sides unarmed, when dry irregularly ribbed, apex truncate. Seed ovoid-cordate, 5–7mm. Clump- and colony-forming suffruticose, often stoloniferous herb; stems ortho-tropic to decumbent, to c. 1.5 m tall/long, with distinct prickly green internodes. Leaves several, petioles prickly, drying spongy, not or faintly mottled; blades pinnatifid to hastate, usually armed beneath, membranous to coriaceous. Inflorescence solitary, on a peduncle similar to but usually somewhat shorter than the petioles. Spathe narrowly lanceolate, convolute at base and usually again above the level of the top of the spadix, often long-acuminate and spirally twisted, erect or recurved, caducous, purplish brown to greenish, with annular, not oblique insertion; spadix sessile. Flowers tetramerous. Fruit green, minutely spiny in upper part, or spines wanting. Seed large, campylotropous, ± pyramidal, c. 1 cm diam.; coat thin, brown, hard, with a few appressed spines; endosperm absent mature seed.
Stem with distinct armed internodes, usually stoloniferous; leaves entire to 1 x divided.
From India to New Guinea.


The young leaves are used as a vegetable. The rhizomes are used medicinally for treating tuberculosis of lymph nodes, swollen lymph nodes, stomach aches, snake and insect bites, injuries, and rheumatism. Burkill (1935) noted the use of this plant both medicinally and as food (leaves). But et al. (1980) remarked on the anti-rheumatic properties of the 'rhizome'. Pal (1980) noted its use in the treatment of 'Gargati', a throat disease of an unspecified animal. Perry (1982) recorded it as a medicine for elephants.


  • Art and Illustrations in Digifolia

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  • CATE Araceae

    • Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

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  • IUCN Categories

    • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2022 World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2022 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
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