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Sauropus androgynus - (L.) Merr.

Common Name Sweet Leaf, Sweetleaf Bush, Katuk
Family Phyllanthaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Slopes with brushwood, sunny forest margins at elevations of 100 - 400 metres in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan and Yunnan Provinces[266 ].
Range E. Asia - India, Bangladesh, S. China, to Indonesia, Vietnam etc.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Sauropus androgynus Sweet Leaf, Sweetleaf Bush, Katuk

Sauropus androgynus Sweet Leaf, Sweetleaf Bush, Katuk


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Sauropus androgynus or also known as Sweet Leaf is a tropical shrub growing about 2-3m tall. It has small red flowers, compound dark green and oval leaves, and purple fruits. Mainly found throughout Southeast Asia, it is often cultivated as leaf vegetable. The leaves are used medicinally to treat coughs and fever but mainly used as food - either consumed raw or cooked. Young shoots and fruits are edible as well. The leaves yield green dye which can be used as food coloring. Plant can be propagated through leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, and seeds sowing.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Sauropus androgynus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Clutia androgyna L. Sauropus albicans Blume

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves  Shoots
Edible Uses: Colouring

Leaves - raw or cooked[296 , 418 ]. Young leaves make a good addition to salads, whilst older leaves are best cooked[296 ]. They can be added to soups or cooked with rice[46 ]. Young shoots about 7cm long, harvested as the leaves unfurl, have a flavour like asparagus[296 ]. A sweet flavour, rather similar to fresh garden peas[296 ]. The leaves are a good source of protein (about 6 - 10%[298 ]) and are very nutritious[296 ]. Ripe fruits can be made into sweetmeats[301 ]. A green dye, obtained from the leaves, is used for food dyeing[317 , 418 ].

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.
Antitussive  Febrifuge  Tonic

The leaves are used as a medicine for coughs and to soothe the lungs, as a tonic, and as a febrifugal to relieve internal fever[266 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fencing  Hedge

Agroforestry Uses: Plants can be grown as a hedge so long as they are trimmed regularly to keep them within bounds[298 ]. They are commonly grown as a living fence or to shade vegetable cultures[317 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Hedge

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the tropics, where it is well adapted to lowland conditions but can also be cultivated at elevations up to 4,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 26 - 35°c, but can tolerate 5 - 38°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 900 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 600 - 4,000 mm[418 ]. Succeeds in full sun and semi shade[296 ]. Survives dry conditions and does not require a rich soil[296 ]. Tolerant of very heavy soils[298 ]. Tolerant of heavy rainfall areas, though they prefer a well-drained soil[298 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 5.5 - 7.5[418 ]. First harvest may be taken after 55 - 70 days[418 ]. Plants can be harvested throughout the year[418 ]. In Java, the plant flowers all year-round and fruiting is usually abundant[418 ]. Plants are fairly resistant to insect predations[296 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - borne in abundance on the plants, they germinate readily[298 ]. Cuttings - they strike readily[296 ]. Somewhat woody shoots, 20 - 30cm long are used[298 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Ngub, Pak-wan, Chekkurmensis, Chekup manis, Changkok manis, So-kun-mu, Kakul, Ruridama no ki, Cekur manis, Chekurmanis, Malunggay hapon, Phak waan, Rau nyot, Rau ngot, Sweet shoot, Kantong, Tarok manis, Chermela hutan, Babing, Katu, Katukan, Katuk, Simani, Pakwan, Thavasai murungai, Sengtungrung, Dieng-soh-pit, Bo ngot, Katuk, Phak waan baan, Pawing, Pamao, Midum-an, japan batu / mella dumkola

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Found In

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

Asia, Australia, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Fiji, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Northeastern India, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, PNG, SE Asia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, USA, 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.

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

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.


Expert comment


(L.) Merr.

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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