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Paederia foetida - L.

Common Name Skunk Vine
Family Rubiaceae
USDA hardiness 6-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A ruderal in thickets and woodland, also along forest edges, in secondary evergreen to deciduous forest and clearings in primary forest[310 ]. Also grows in montane vegetation up to 3,000 m, on steep, forested slopes, or on sandy or rocky sea coasts[310 ].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Paederia foetida Skunk Vine

Paederia foetida Skunk Vine
KENPEI wikimedia.org


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A fast-growing vine with stems reaching up to 7 m long that twine into other plants for support and commonly grown in East Asia is known as Skunk Vine or Paederia foetida. The leaves of this plant are opposite and narrowly oval and the flowers are gray-purple. The fruits are oval and red or yellow. Skunk vine has great potential to be a weed as it can become naturalized in many areas and seeds can easily be dispersed by birds. The leaves are edible. With a strong flavor and odor, it is often cooked or eaten raw as a side dish. The leaves are also used medicinally particularly in the treatment of digestive or intestinal conditions. It can also be applied externally for swellings and bruises. Leaf juice is used to treat diarrhea in children. The fruit is used for toothache.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Paederia foetida is a CLIMBER growing to 4 m (13ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Butterflies. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Apocynum foetidum Burm.f. Gentiana scandens Lour. Hondbesseion tomentosum (Blume) Kuntze Paederia am

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Stem
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[301 ]. Although they have a strong flavour, the leaves are sometimes mixed with grated coconut and spices, and then eaten raw as a side-dish with rice[301 , 310 ]. The minced leaves are steamed and eaten; they can be added to soups; or are mixed with various vegetables and spices, then wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked over a fire[301 ]. Any offensive smell disappears as the leaves are cooked[301 ]. The leaves are valued more for their medicinal virtues than for their flavour![K ]. The sweet stem juice is sucked in Taiwan[177 , 183 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiarthritic  Antidiarrhoeal  Antidote  Antiinflammatory  Antirheumatic  Antitumor  Antivinous  Astringent  
Cancer  Carminative  Depurative  Diuretic  Dysentery  Restorative  Tonic  

The leaves are widely used in Asia and South-East Asia, where they are especially valued for treating digestive problems[310 ]. Considerable research has been carried out into the medicinal benefits of the plants, with several active compounds having been recorded[310 ]. Several iridoid glucosides such as asperuloside, scandoside and paederoside have been isolated from the aerial parts of the plant[310 ]. These glucosides have displayed antitumor activity with paederoside displaying the highest degree of antitumor-promoting activity[310 ]. Scandoside has been shown to promote the growth of lettuce seedlings. Paederoside showed a similar inhibitory activity to that of asperuloside and daecetyl-asperulosidic acid in a plant growth inhibition test and in an antimicroorganism activity test[310 ]. The bruised aerial parts of the plant have the fetid odour of indole (methyl-mercaptan). Damage to the tissue releases an enzyme which splits off this sulphur-containing group from paederoside, and is therefore responsible for the unpleasant odour. The most abundant sulphur-containing compound was dimethyl disulphide[310 ]. The presence of alkaloids and an essential oil have also been recorded[310 ]. Monoterpenes such as linalol constitute the major components in the oil[310 ]. In older investigations, decoctions of the plant showed significant anti-inflammatory action against arthritis[310 ]. The decoction also exhibited marked activity against degenerative osteo-arthritis[310 ]. The water soluble fraction of the aerial parts displayed anti-inflammatory activity in oedema[310 ]. It failed to exhibit any analgesic or antipyretic action and showed no ulcerogenic potential[310 ]. An ethanolic extract of the leaves has shown anticancer activity against human epidermoid carcinoma of the nasopharynx[310 ]. A methanol extract of the leaves has shown hepatoprotective potential, being effective in reversing 6 out of 12 common biochemical (enzymatic) parameters assessed[310 ]. Another study has shown that the plant has antidiarrhoeal activity, acting by inhibiting intestinal motility - thus supporting its use in traditional medicine[360 ]. The leaves are anodyne, antirheumatic, antivinous, astringent, carminative, depurative, diuretic, restorative and vermifuge[147 , 218 , 310 ]. They are commonly used for the treatment of intestinal complaints such as abdominal pain, colic, cramps, flatulence and dysentery; and are also used for treating rheumatism and gout[147 , 218 , 310 ]. The leaves are also used to treat infertility and paralysis[218 ]. The leaves and stems are also used as a diuretic for inflammation of the urethra[310 ]. For treating intestinal problems, the fresh leaves are pounded, water added, and the filtered infusion is drunk regularly till convalescence[310 ]. The plant is considered to have great restorative powers, and the leaves may thus be mixed with food, boiled and eaten - in India, they are often boiled in soup to lessen their smell[310 ]. Applied externally, the leaves are used to treat swellings and bruises in general, and are mashed then applied for earache, ulcerations of the nose and swollen eyes[272 , 310 ]. They are used as a poultice for treating a swollen belly, distension, herpes or ringworm; and are used in antirheumatic baths[310 ]. They are applied to the abdomen as a diuretic, and also as a solvent for vesical stones[310 ]. The juice of the leaves is considered astringent, and is used to treat diarrhoea in children[310 ]. The bark and the root are considered to be emetic[310 ]. The juice of the root is prescribed in cases of indigestion, piles, inflammation of the spleen, and pain in the chest and liver[272 , 310 ]. It may help to eliminate poisons collected in the system[310 ]. In some parts of India, the fruit is used to blacken teeth, and it is also considered a medicine to prevent and treat toothache[310 , 360 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Essential  Fibre  Insecticide  Plant breeding

Other Uses The stem yields a strong and silky fibre, but it is not commercially exploited[310 ]. An ethanolic extract of the leaves and stem has been shown to be significantly toxic against the aphid Myzus persicae infesting cabbage in India[310 ]

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Found in a range of environments from the warm temperate zone to the tropics. It is tolerant of at least some frost[413 ]. Succeeds in any fertile soil so long as it is well drained[182 , 219 ]. Plants have a wide ranging adaptability to different levels of light, types of soil, and salt conditions[413 ]. Requires a sunny sheltered position[219 ]. A very variable plant[58 ]. The plant has escaped from cultivation and become naturalised in many areas[310 ]. It has become a serious weed of young sugarcane[305 ]. The vines climb over shrubs and trees, weighing them down and impeding regeneration[413 ]. They also invade pastureland and are troublesome along roads and on power lines[413 ]. The seeds may be dispersed by birds and the plant is also spread by the transport of rooted fragments[413 ]. The plant can be found flowering and fruiting throughout the year in tropical and subtropical conditions; in other localities, it flowers during the rainy season, and fruits early in the dry season[310 ]. Individual flowers are short-lived, open early in the morning and fall off after 2 days; entire inflorescences, however, bear flowers for a long period of time[310 ]. Flowering Time: Mid Summer Late Summer/Early Fall. Bloom Color: Red White/Near White.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - despite its weediness, the plant germinates rather slowly, with tetraploids germinating quicker than hexaploids, in 5 - 22 days, or in 17 - 24 days, respectively[310 ]. Layering. Sometimes, shoots produce adventitious roots when they come in contact with the soil, and can thus be propagated[310 ]

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Skunk Vine, Akar sekentut, Bedoli sutta, Bhedailata, Bhedai lota, Bonki repuk, Bonkiripuk, Borei, Daukhi bendung, Daun kentut, Gabbutiga, Gandal, Gandali, Gandha bhadulia, Gandhali, Gandhana, Gandho vadal, Hebeheu-ria, Hesarane, Hiranvel, Kahitutan, Kesimbukan, Oasibu, Padebiri, Paduri lota, Paduri-lata, Pakhi bendang, Penarisangai, Phaom, Pighiirai, Prasarani, Saonkiphu, Savirela, Shejla ojneya, Shiveirei, Silindi, Somaraji, Takpaedrik, Talanili, Tapinrimin, Voi hnam zai, biri, chinese fever vine, chinese moon-creeper, gandha prasarini, gandhapatra, gontima goru-teega, haranvel, hesarani, hiranvel, king's tonic, laingomaimbo, lengomena, liane caca, liane lingue, lingue, mudiyar kundal, prasaarani, prasarini, prasarini bail, prasara?i, prasari?i (whole plant), skunk vine|prasarini / apasu madu, skunkvine, stinking opalberry, stinkvine, sara?i, tala nili, wiàng hài tù.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Philippines; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Viet Nam, Asia, Burma, Indochina, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Northeastern India, Pacific, SE Asia, Vietnam,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

A noxious weed in both Florida and Alabama. In the Mascarene Islands it is a serious agricultural weed, and has recently become invasive in forest parks and disturbed urban sites in southern China. Vines trail across the ground, clamber over shrubs and twine into tree canopies to form curtains of dense vegetation that block light, provide undue weight, and offer a pathway for fire, often leading to the death of the host [1d].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Paederia scandens Climber5.5 - FLMHNM12 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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