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Vitex pinnata - L.

Common Name Keleban
Family Lamiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Comparatively dry regions in lowland forest, especially in more open habitats, secondary forests and river banks. Occurs gregariously in secondary forest and is a pioneer species in Imperata cylindrica vegetation and recently burnt grasslands[303 ].
Range E. Asia - Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Vitex pinnata Keleban

Vitex pinnata Keleban


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Vitex pinnata is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


Pistaciovitex pinnata (L.) Kuntze Vitex arborea Roxb. Vitex articulata Steud. Vitex bracteata Horsf.


Edible Uses

None known

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.

A decoction of the bark is used to treat stomach-ache[303 ]. A poultice of the leaves is used to treat fevers and wounds[303 ].

Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: The tree has been used in replanting schemes to reclaim imperata grasslands in Asia[303 ]. It is one of the recommended trees in its native range for planting as a shade tree[303 ]. Other Uses The yellow-brown to dark-brown wood is fine-grained, heavy, very hard and durable[46 , 303 , 652 ]. The timber, though not commercially important due to its small dimensions, is favoured locally for construction, household goods, tool handles, boats and implements[46 , 303 ]. The wood produces a high quality charcoal that is compatible and competitive with mangrove charcoal in international markets[303 ].

Cultivation details

Vitex pinnata is common in comparatively dry regions in lowland forest, where it can be found at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It is found in areas where the mean annual rainfall is within the range 590 - 1,500mm, and the mean annual temperature 20 - 32?c[303 ]. Young trees grow moderately slowly, with a mean annual diameter increment of 0.6 cm and slightly over 1 cm in Myanmar and Java respectively. One year-old seedlings may reach 2 metres in height, mean annual height increment for the first 15 years after planting is about 1 metre[303 ]. Planted trees start to flower after 11 - 12 years in Java[303 ]. Planting should be done early in the rainy season. Generally at m x 3 metres , occasionally at 1 x 1 - 2 metres on very fertile soils[303 ]. For charcoal production, stands planted at densities of 2,500 trees/ha have yielded 16 - 18 tonnes of charcoal in 4 years[303 ]. Moderately fire resistant[303 ].


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Seed - pre-soaking the seeds for 15 seconds in hot water stimulates and increases germination[303 ]. Seeds start to germinate 10 - 40 days after sowing with a germination rate of 60 - 80%[303 ]. Seed can be stored for 1 year after depulping[303 ]. Under dense forest canopy germination is completely inhibited, but the seeds remain dormant and viable for more than 6 months. Seed under light shade differentiates into 2 fractions: one with seeds germinating within 2 months, the other with seeds remaining dormant and only germinating when exposed to full sunlight[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here


Found In

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

Bangladesh; Cambodia; India; Indonesia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Philippines; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Viet Nam

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Vitex agnus-castusAgnus Castus, Lilac chastetree, Vitex, Chastetree25
Vitex cannabifolia 02
Vitex donianaBlack Plum43
Vitex keniensisFulu, Mkombachiko, Mufuu20
Vitex madiensisEkarukei, Murukukwe42
Vitex negundoHuang Ping, Chinese chastetree, Cut Leaf Vitex, Cut-leaf Chastetree23
Vitex payosChocolate Berry42


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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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