coastal plants
Gambir laut or Wild jasmine
Clerodendrum inerme

Family Verbenaceae

updated Jan 13
Where seen? This small shrub with pretty whiskery flowers is sometimes seen among the shore vegetation and in back mangroves. According to Hsuan Keng, it is common near the sea in tidal mud including Rochore, Changi, Seletar and Pulau Ubin. According to Giesen, it is found along coasts including mangroves. Found from India to Sri Lanka, throughout Southeast Asia to southern China, Australia and Polynesia. Also known as Volkameria inermis.

Features: A shrub (1-4m) with drooping stems (0.5-3m), sometimes a small tree (up to 10m). Stems woody and smooth.

Leaves eye-shaped (1.5-4cm) thinly fleshy, smooth, arranged opposite one another. The underside has dark green dots.

Flower trumpet-shaped (1.5-4cm long) white with long purple stamens, in clusters of 3 to 7 flowers joined at the base.

Fruit round or egg-shaped (1cm), green ripening to black. The dry fruit then breaks into 4 lobes, each with a thick corky wall.

Human uses: According to Giesen, the seeds and roots are used to treat poisoning from fish and other marine animals. The leaves are used to treat wounds, and fruits to dysentery. The leaves are used in an appetizer dish in Indonesia.

Lim Chu Kang, Apr 09

Pulau Ubin, May 09

Mandai, Mar 11

Lim Chu Kang, Apr 09

Gambir laut on Singapore shores

Photos for free download from wildsingapore flickr


  • Clerodendrum inerme on Total Vascular Flora of Singapore Online: photos and fact sheet.
  • Volkameria inermis on the NParks Flora and Fauna website: photos and fact sheet.
  • Giesen, Wim and Stephan Wulffraat, Max Zieren and Liesbeth Scholten. 2006. Mangrove Guidebook for Southeast Asia (PDF online downloadable). RAP publication 2006/07 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Bangkok.

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