Combretum indicum

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Combretum indicum
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Combretaceae
Genus: Combretum
C. indicum
Binomial name
Combretum indicum
(L.) DeFilipps
    • Kleinia quadricolor Crantz
    • Quisqualis ebracteata P.Beauv.
    • Quisqualis glabra Burm.f.
    • Quisqualis grandiflora Miq.
    • Quisqualis indica L.[1]: 547 [2]
    • Quisqualis pubescens Burm.f.
    • Quisqualis sinensis Lindl.
    • Quisqualis villosa Roxb.

Combretum indicum, also commonly known as the Rangoon creeper[4] or Burma creeper,[2] is a vine with red flower clusters which is native to tropical Asia and grows in thickets, primary and secondary forest, and along river banks in the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia and the Philippines.[1]: 547  It has since been cultivated and naturalized in tropical areas such as Burma, Vietnam, and Thailand.

This plant is grown as an ornament.[5][2]



The Rangoon creeper is a ligneous vine that can reach from 2.5 meters to up to 8 meters. The leaves are elliptical with an acuminate tip and a rounded base. They grow from 7 to 15 centimeters and their arrangement is opposite.

Flowers and fruit[edit]

The flowers are tubular, consisting of oblong petals 6-8 mm long. They are fragrant and have long receptacles to adapt for pollinators with long tongues.[1]: 547–548 

They change in colour with age and it is thought that this is a strategy to gather more pollinators. The flower is initially white and opens at dusk to attract hawkmoths. On the second day it turns pink, and on the third it turns red attracting day flying bees and birds. The flower also changes from a horizontal orientation to a drooping pose.[6]: 175 [1]: 548 

The 30 to 35 mm long fruit is dark brown, ellipsoidal and has five stiff and prominent wings. The seed tastes like almond or coconut when mature.[1]: 547 

Potential toxicity[edit]

The seeds of this and related species, Quisqualis fructus and Q. chinensis, contain the chemical quisqualic acid, which is an agonist for the AMPA receptor, a kind of glutamate receptor in the brain. The chemical is linked to excitotoxicity (cell death).[7][8] The seeds have been used for treating roundworm and pinworm.[citation needed] It is toxic to the parasite and kills it in the digestive tract.[citation needed]


Dr John Ivor Murray sent a sample of the "nuts" to the Museum of Economic Botany in Edinburgh in 1861, with a note that they were "used by the Chinese for worms" and a description of the means of preparation and dosage.[9]



  1. ^ a b c d e Exell, A.W. (1948). "Combretaceae". Flora Malesiana. 4 (1): 533–589 – via Naturalis Institutional Repository.
  2. ^ a b c Quisqualis indica Linn. – Niog-niogan (PDF). Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Agriculture, Republic of Philippines. n.d. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Combretum indicum (L.) DeFilipps". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. 2023. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  4. ^ "Combretum indicum". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  5. ^ Oakes, Albert Jackson (1967). Some Harmful Plants of Southeast Asia. Bethesda, Maryland, USA: Naval Medical School. pp. 39–40.
  6. ^ Eisikowitch, D.; Rotem, R. (1987). "Flower Orientation and Color Change in Quisqualis indica and Their Possible Role in Pollinator Partitioning". Botanical Gazette. 148 (2): 175–179. doi:10.1086/337645. JSTOR 2995472. S2CID 84197357.
  7. ^ Excitotoxic cell death and delayed rescue in human neurons derived from NT2 cells, M Munir, L Lu and P Mcgonigl, Journal of Neuroscience, Vol 15, 7847–7860
  8. ^ Glutamate cytotoxicity in a neuronal cell line is blocked by membrane depolarization. T. H. Murphy, R. L. Schnaar, J. T. Coyle and A. Sastre. Brain Research Volume 460, Issue 1, 13 September 1988, Pages 155–160
  9. ^ Traill, Dr William (1863). "I. Notes on Horticultural Experience at Russelconda, South India". Transactions of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh. 7 (1–4): 109–110. doi:10.1080/03746606309467805.

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