Indonesian indigenous vegetables referred to the plants that are commonly used as vegetables, but nowadays was unpopular anymore. There are many plants that today are simply known as grasses. But actually, the Indonesian people previously used it as vegetables. Mollugo penthapylla is on the list of vegetable plants according to the Indische Groenten book.

Description of Mollugo penthaphylla

Mollugo penthaphylla is an annual plant. Height about 20-35 cm. The growth is upright with a slender stem size. Has many branches. The roots are tapped and deep. The leaves are located alternately, opposite and at the base of each branch. The leaves are oblong in shape. The size of the leaves narrows to tapered at the ends. Flowers are located at the terminal shoots and in the axillary branches.

Mollugo penthaphylla is no longer famous as vegetables

Firstly, the information sources that discuss Mollugo penthapylla as a vegetable, are very limited in Indonesia. Most of the available literature, mention that Mollugo penthapylla is grass. In fact, there is some specific information from the research on weed control. One of the weeds is Mollugo penthapylla. Few of the literature also mentions it as a medicinal plant.

Indonesian Indigenous vegetables

Finding information based on local names turned out to be quite difficult. Because this plant is not popular anymore. However, there is information from an old book called Indische Groenten at home. The contents of this book are a list of plants that are useful as vegetables for the Indonesian people in the 1920-1930 era. In addition to the information, Indische Groenten is a Dutch language book written by Osche.

Recalling Mollugo penthapylla as Indonesian Indigenous vegetables

In Indische Groenten book, Mollugo penthapylla has several local names. Javanese people call it by the name Galingsa. While the Sundanese in West Java has several local names for them. Namely, Jampang kulut, Jukut Said, Jukut Taridi, Jukut Titiran, and Paci-paci.

In fact, Mollugo penthapylla has a very wide distribution in Indonesia. They can grow from the lowlands to the highlands, at 1200 masl in Java island. But for growing optimally, they need fertile soil which contains a lot of organic matter. Generally easy to find on roadsides, yards, gardens, and rice fields.

According to Osche, although common as a vegetable at that time, people didn’t make Mollugo penthapylla as their top choice. This may be because this plant has small leaves. So that the most commonly found at that time, people used it as a lalab. Although sometimes they also eat it by stir fry the leaves and young stems by mixing with some spices.

Benefits for health

However, their young leaves and stems contain several useful metabolites. One of the known metabolites is Mollugogenol. This metabolite belongs to the triterpene group which have antifungal activity. Last but not least, there are some other metabolites also, that has a function as an antipyretic, antiseptic, appetizer, laxative, antitoxic, diuretic and stomachic.

Soup from the stems and young leaves is not only useful as an appetite enhancer, but it is also useful for relieving thrush infections in the mouth. Another benefit is as a mosquito repellent. By burning the plants, the smoke produced can be an alternative as a mosquito repellent.


  • Lee et. al. 2019. Anti-inflammatory and anti-osteoarthritis effect of Mollugo pentaphylla extract.
    Pharmaceutical Biology, Volume 57, 2019 – Issue 1. p 73-80
  • Soerjani M., Kostermans A. J. G. H., Tjitrosoepomo G. 1987. Weeds of Rice in Indonesia. Balai Pustaka. Jakarta.
  • Ochse. 1930. Indiche Groenten. Departement Landbouw, Nijverheid en Handel, Buitenzorg

Muryanto Paiman

always love to learn from nature.  Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses


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