Callisia fragrans

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Basket plant
Callisia fragrans - Luoc vang.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Commelinales
Family: Commelinaceae
Genus: Callisia
Species: C. fragrans
Binomial name
Callisia fragrans
(Lindl.) Woodson
  • Spironema orthandrum Lindb.
  • Rectanthera fragrans (Lindl.) O. Deg.
  • Spironema fragrans Lindl.

Callisia fragrans, commonly known as the Basket plant, Chain plant or Inch plant, is a species of the Callisia genus, in the Commelinaceae family.[1]


Close-up of inflorescence, showing the small, white, fragrant flowers

The fleshy stem of the herb grows to a height of 1 metre. 25-centimetre-long leaves become violet if exposed to strong sunlight. Blossoms are white and fragrant.[3][4]

Range and cultivation[edit]

The Basket plant is endemic to Mexico, and naturalized in the West Indies, scattered locations in the United States, and a few other places.[2][5] It has been cultivated in many countries as an indoor ornamental since the early 1900s.[6] However, it can be also found growing outdoors in warmer climates in moist, fertile soil. The herb likes partially shaded areas.

Medicinal properties[edit]

It has a rich folkloric reputation as an antiviral and antimicrobial plant. Especially in Eastern Europe, its leaves are used for treatment of various skin diseases, burns and joint disorders.[6] An ethanol leaf extract has been shown to effectively inhibit the infection of Vero cells by HSV-1, HSV-2 and an ACV-resistant strain of the latter, in vitro. The ethanol leaf extract, as opposed an aquatic extract, was however ineffective against VZV.[6] Though the ethanol leaf extract had a lower selectivity index (toxicity vs. effectiveness) than ACV, it was able to inhibit the HSV-2 mutant, and may be less toxic than ACV. Direct interaction with the viruses and blocking of their access to the host cells seems to be involved.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Plants database". Plants database. United States Department of Agriculture. 
  2. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ Klaus Kubitzki; H. Huber; P.J. Rudall; P.S. Stevens (1998). Flowering Plants. Monocotyledons: Alismatanae and Commelinanae (except Gramineae). p. 89. ISBN 3-540-64061-4. 
  5. ^ "Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Plant Growth Facilities". Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Plant Growth Facilities. University of Connecticut. 
  6. ^ a b c d Yarmolinsky, Ludmila; Zaccai, Michele; Ben-Shabat, Shimon; Huleihel, Mahmoud (4 June 2010). "Anti-Herpetic Activity of Callissia fragrans and Simmondsia chinensis Leaf Extracts In Vitro". The Open Virology Journal. 4 (1): 57–62. PMC 2918872Freely accessible. PMID 20700398. doi:10.2174/1874357901004010057. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Callisia fragrans at Wikimedia Commons
Data related to Callisia fragrans at Wikispecies