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  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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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.

Sauropus androgynus Sweet Leaf, Sweetleaf Bush, Katuk
Sauropus androgynus Sweet Leaf, Sweetleaf Bush, Katuk
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.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 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: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Clutia androgyna L. Sauropus albicans Blume

Edible Uses
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 ].
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.

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 ].


Other Uses
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 ]. Other Uses None known
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 ].
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
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
Found In
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


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(L.) Merr.
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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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Subject : Sauropus androgynus  

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