Pisonia umbellifera (J.R. Forst. & G. Forst.) Seem., Bonplandia 10: 154 154 1862. (syn. Bougainvillea racemosa Blanco; Calpidia brunoniana (Endl.) Heimerl; Calpidia excelsa (Bl.) Heim.; Calpidia forsteriana (Walp. & Schauer) Heimerl; Calpidia nishimurae Rehder & Wils.; Calpidia taitensis Heimerl; Cedrota guianensis Blanco; Ceodes brunoniana (Endl.) Skottsb.; Ceodes excelsa Skottsb.; Ceodes forsteriana (Walp. & Schauer) Skottsb.; Ceodes siphonocarpa Heimerl; Ceodes umbellata G. Forster; Ceodes umbellifera J. R. & G. Forst.; Ceodes umbellifera f. acuminata Heimerl; Ceodes umbellifera var. acuminata Heimerl ex J. W. Parham; Heimerlia brunoniana (Endl.) Skottsb.; Labordea fauriei H. Lév.; Pisonia aruensis Barg.-Petr.; Pisonia brunoniana Endl.; Pisonia excelsa Bl.; Pisonia forsteriana Walp. & Schauer; Pisonia gammillii Merrill; Pisonia grandis A.Cunn. ex Hook. fil.; Pisonia inermis var. leiocarpa Hbd.; Pisonia macrocarpa Presl; Pisonia mooriana F.Müll.; Pisonia nishimurae Koidz.; Pisonia sinclairii Hook. fil.; Pisonia siphonocarpa (Heimerl) Stemm.; Pisonia umbellata Seem.; Pisonia umbellifera (J. R. & G. Forst.) Seem. (ambiguous synonym); Pisonia umbellifera Seem. ex Nadeaud (ambiguous synonym); Pisonia viscosa Seem.);               
Madagascar, Mauritius, La Réunion, Comores, Australia (Northern Territory,
Queensland, New South Wales), Vanuatu, Seychelles (introduced), Bonin Isl.
(Keetaajima, Nakohdojima, Chichijima, Anijima, Otohtojima, Hahajima), Lord Howe
Isl., Pitcairn Isl., Fiji, peninsular Malaysia (Perak, Pahang), Vietnam,
Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi, Lesser Sunda Isl., New Guinea, Bismarck Arch.,
Solomons, Christmas Isl. (Austr.), Taiwan, China (Hainan), Philippines, Moluccas
(Aru Isl., etc.), Thailand, New Zealand, Kermadec Isl., Norfolk Isl., Three
Kings Isl., Western Samoa, Tanna Isl., Gambier Isl. (Mangareva Isl.), Pitcairn
Isl., Marquesas Isl. (Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Pou, Eiao, Hatutu, Ua Huka),
Austral Isl. (Rapa Iti, Raivavae, Rimatara, Rurutu, Maria Atoll), Cook Isl.
(Rarotonga), Tuamotu Arch. (Makatea Isl., Fangatau, Vanavana, Karoroa, Takapoto,
Tikei, Raroia), Oeno Atoll, ?Henderson Isl., Palau Isl. (Koror, Tor Uil,
Aulupse?el, Urukthapel, Peleliu, Angaur, Sonsorol), American Samoa (Manua Isl.,
Tutuila, Ofu, Ta?u), Micronesia (Yap, Truk, Moen), Society Isl. (Tahiti,
Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora), Southern Marianas (Saipan, Rota, Guam),
Western Samoa (Upolu, ?Savaii), Tonga (‘Eua), Hawaii (Oahu, Molokai, Lanai,
Maui, Hawaii Isl.),
Andamans (North Andamans, Middle Andamans, South Andamans,
Little Andaman Isl.), Nicobars (Car Nicobar Isl., North Nicobars, Central
Nicobars, Great Nicobar Isl., Little Nicobar Isl.), Myanmar [Burma] (Ayeyarwady,
Rakhine, Taninthayi)
as per Catalogue of Life;
lettuce tree, Cabbage tree, sule sappu, lachaikottei;
Most commonly used for hedges (live fence) alternatively with red Acalypha, which gives a stunning effect to the onlookers. The leaves are used for cooking in Chennai. The leaves have medicinal properties too (elephantiasis);
It is grown in widely Sri Lanka as a live fence tree and the leaves are a popular vegetable; 



Date/Time:- 23rd October 2010
Location:- Hiranandani gardens, powai, mumbai, maharashtra
Altitude:- Sea level

Habitat:- Garden/ Urban

Plant Habit- Tree 

Height/Length:- 30ft

Leaves Type/ Shape/ Size:- as seen in photos

Inflorescence Type/ Size:- not seen

Flowers Size/ Colour/ Calyx/ Bracts:- not seen

Fruits Type/ Shape/ Size Seeds:- not seen

Other Information like Fragrance, Pollinator, Uses etc.:- This seems to be evergreen ornamental tree 

It can be Pisonia alba.

I also think Pisonia alba Span (Nyctaginaceae). We call it Kol Banda,
Some Javanese people believe that ghost likes this plant. 

Pisonia alba. Very common plant in Chennai.

Leaves are edible and used for cooking. The leaves have medicinal value. Cattle’s favourite and they graze happily the leaves and stems.
The plant is an horticulturists’ favourite in Chennai; more often than not, used for developing hedges alternating with red Acalypha in Gardens. 

On 27/9/08 in Hyderabad, AP. Seen many trees in my office compond- may be because of greenish leafy foliage.

Looks like Pisonia alba

Thanks, …, Here is a very good link with details of Pisonia alba (lettuce tree/ Cabbage tree) from Nyctaginaceae: http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mp/2003/01/14/stories/2003011400060200.htm
Other links:



Pisonia alba flowering in Mumbai : Attachments (2 + 3).  8 posts by 7 authors.
An uncommon instance of Pisonia alba in flower. It is a very popular ornamental in Mumbai but is seldom seen flowering / fruiting. Clicked today morning in a traffic island in South Mumbai.
It is intriguing to note that G. Carstensen, the Danish superintendent of the Victoria Gardens in Mumbai, remarked upon the distinctive appeal of this tree way back in 1890. In a meeting of the Bombay Natural History Society on 3rd December 1890, he gave a talk on the gardens of Bombay and had some flattering things to say about this tree:
“The most striking tree of our gardens is perhaps the Lettuce-tree (Pisonia alba), which cannot fail to attract attention by the splendid effect of its bright yellow foliage, nowhere I believe so perfectly developed as in Bombay”. – G. Carstensen, Bombay Gardens, p. 410, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, Vol. V, 1890.

Thanks … for posting the flowers of P.alba. Yes, it is very rare. This plant is very very common in Chennai also, rather very popular shrub / a small tree.
Most commonly used for hedges (live fence) alternatively with red Acalypha, which gives a stunning effect to the onlookers.
I have never seen it in flowering, though I was very keenly observing the plant in around Chennai for more than 20 years ! Though I knew that it would flower, I was not fortunate enough to see the plant in flowering in Chennai. Let me try out now in Mysore city.
It is called sule sappu in Kannada and lachaikottei in Tamil. The leaves are used for cooking in Chennai. The leaves have medicinal properties too (elephantiasis).

I have never seen this tree flowering although very common. Thanks for sharing the flowers.

I am visiting Mumbai this Sunday to see some flowering trees at Ranibaug. I am keen to see this tree as well which does not flower in Pune. Pls send me precise location so that I can photograph this. Pls keep me updated on similar rare trees flowering in near future.

I have never seen Pisonia alba with flowers. It is grown in widely Sri Lanka as a live fence tree and the leaves are a popular vegetable. Can you please forward an image of it.

Thanks to … for the nice photo
I’m adding mine taken by mobile only for reference purpose, if any
Location: Traffic Island, Churchgate, Mumbai-Morning 9.15am while going to office & on return during afternoon around 3.15pm
Date:3rd June, 2013
Information conrtsey: …, during 39th Tree Appreciation Walk held on 3rd June, 2013 at Colaba Woods, Mumbai
Location ID Courtsey: …
ON J Tata Road there are many plants of Pisonia Alba but found that not all are flowering, This traffic Island is my favourite place to watch & relax,
Hope U all will bear with the nuisance,

Thank you for sharing these important images and for the really interesting historical info. about this plant in Bombay. I finally saw the flowers last evening, thanks for telling me about the fragrance too, it is mild but very pleasant.
I feel quite excited about this as I have got four Pisonia alba plants in my garden but in the last 12 years I have not seen them flower even once. Your post here is very significant … good work!

Wonderful…. pics and info…
Do you by any chance go by this island with any regularity?
reason I want to know, is … I would hope you could also keep an eye on it to see if fruits / seeds set in?
and if they do , could you please also show us their pics?
I am far, on the east coast of the country… hence the request…

m happy 2 hear from U, & shall b glad; if I’m of any help 2 U here, plz b assured, I wl do my best to share d info. u hv requestd,

Nothing much has changed on plant, have taken photo by Mobile using magnifying glass, too, mostly twice a day,
Observations: New flower buds are appearing, & the olds are still flowering
Weather: sunny, intermittant rains-heavy to light showers (posted on 13.6.13)

Very sad to tell U that the concern authority has trimmed-off the plant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please bear with it,

Back in Mumbai after a month of travelling and catching up with all the emails here…
…: The hands at work are often overzealous and the plants may look stubby for a while but periodical pruning / trimming is no cause for alarm. What is really shameful, and habitually unremarked by most, is that a portion of that traffic island – which also happens to be the site of the 26/11 memorial – has been transformed into a makeshift garbage dump. FYI, I had first sighted the flowers on 27 May 2013 and the plant that was flowering most profusely in the corner adjoining the subway had been uprooted when I revisited the site on the 2nd of June with Mr Ingalhalikar and his friends. It appears that you and your friends have missed seeing that plant altogether. Even now, you might encounter mango crates, glass & plastic waste callously dumped around the Pisonia stand. Not unusual for one of the dirtiest cities on the planet in every manner possible.
From what I’ve noticed in the short period between 27 May and 1 June 2013, the flowering has been scattered across Mumbai. However, it is imperative to underscore that the non-flowering plants far outnumber the paltry few that have flowered in each of these localities…
South Mumbai:
Maharshi Karve Marg, Churchgate Station : pictures posted here on 27 May 2013
Gamdevi, Chowpatty
Teen Batti, Walkeshwar
Central & Suburban Mumbai:
Kalina, Santacruz East
Sion Koliwada
Orlem, Malad West
Mahavir Nagar, Kandivali West : a 15-foot-tall tree
Charkop Industrial Estate, Kandivali West
Chikoo Wadi, Borivali West
Anand Nagar, Dahisar East
Navi Mumbai:
Sector 29, Vashi

Namaskar, I saw the buds in the morning(5/6/2014), will definitely contact the care taker; today evening, to avoid last years instance of chopping-off the plants,




Chennai 100614 TBN 1 / ? Pisonia alba flowering/ TBN June 3 : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3).

Please validate the identity this plant details of which are as follows:
Date           : 13.04.14                                                             
Location     :Chennai, Adyar near Theosophical society
Altitude      :< 200 ft

Habitat        :cultivated garden
Habit           :shrub
Height         :5 ft
Leaves         :large
Flowers       : small and white
Fruits           :,not seen 

Thank you … for this post. Never seen Pisonia in bloom.

The flowering of Pisonia was reported to have occurred in Mumbai by … in this forum. Now it has occurred in Chennai.

Many thanks … for sharing your sightings from Chennai. It has started flowering in some localities of Mumbai too, although the flowering specimens are very few compared to those that do not flower. Btw, these flowers are mildly fragrant. 
Here is the link to my sightings of the flowers in May 2013 

Pisonia umbellifera (Nyctaginaceae) : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1)
Very common in the Andamans. Photo by Dr. Vinod Maina.

Is it Adathoda? : 5 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (1)
More information are not available.

No it is not Adathoda 

Holarrhena ?

It could be Pisonia alba or less probably Alstonia macrophylla.

Thank you all helping me idying the plant. I think … is correct by saying Pisonia alba
Corrections are welcome, If I am wrong. 

Pisonia alba flowering in Mumbai: 2014 : 2 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)- 18 kb- very small image.
Here is a photograph of Pisonia alba flowering in Mumbai, at Churchgate station this year also and its clicked on 7th June 2014
Is there any news from the other parts of Mumbai or any where else in India about flowering this year too?
Last year, during this time the flowering was observed at Churchgate,Colaba woods, Sion, Walkeshwar, area like Kandivali, Borivali, Navi Mumbai and in Chennai too
I am interested in knowing whether its flowering elsewhere also in the year 2014? And has anybody observed or clicked the photograph of the fruits of Pisonia alba, any time?