Katuk - Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr.

Tender Katuk leaves

Fig. 1

Tender Katuk leaves
Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr.

A group of plants, October

Fig. 2
A group of plants, October

Katuk flowers

Fig. 3
Katuk flowers

Katuk fowers and fruit hang beneath the foliage

Fig. 4
Katuk fowers and fruit hang beneath the foliage

Katuk fruit

Fig. 5

Katuk fruit

Katuk fruit and seeds

Fig. 6
Katuk fruit and seeds

© K. Jackson 2013

Fig. 7
Katuk seed ready to drop

Katuk, 2 to 3 seeds per fruit

Fig. 8
Katuk, 2 to 3 seeds per fruit

Katuk seeds

Fig. 9
Katuk seeds



SAW row-puss  an-DROG-ah-nus 5

Common Names

Babing, Binahian, Cangkuk Manis (Manis meaning sweet) (Malaysia), Chang Kok (Borneo), Chekkurmanis, Cherai, Hvaan baanz, mani cai (China), Phakwan-ban, NgubPak Wan (Thailand), Madhura cherai, Sayur Cekur Manis (Malaysia), Simani, Star gooseberry, Sweet leaf (Australia), Thavasai murungai 1


Euphorbiaceae – Spurge family 2


6' to 8'.


Space plants 2 ft to 4 ft apart.


Oval dark green.


Flowers later summer. In Java, it flowers year-round and fruiting is usually abundant. 1


The fruit can be white or purple


Perennial. Growth slows during the cold months and crops become unpalatable

USDA Hardiness Zones

11 - 12

Lowland tropical rainforest

Light Requirement

Under-storey. Shade, or sun with extra water. It is well adapted to lowland tropical conditions and in Indonesia and Java it occurs from sea level to 1300 m in elevation 1

PH preference


Drought Tolerance

Katuk is fairly drought tolerant

Cold Tolerance

Cold damage will occur at about 50°F (10°C)

Invasive potential *

None known

Diseases/Pest Resistance

Generally pest free; sometimes a small amount of leaf damage from Leaf Miner

Further Reading
Sauropus androgynus (sweet leaf bush) from the Australian New Crops Newsletter pdf

Katuk Sweet Leaf Bush I from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia

Katuk Sweet Leaf Bush II from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia


Perennial. A rapidly growing warm season crop, growth slows during the colder months. Katuk is a multi-stemmed, dark green leaf understory shrub and is a staple in Borneo, some say tastes nutty and a little like green peas. Farmers in Malaysia force the growth of stem tips by fertilization, irrigation and the use of shade cloth.

More... pdf


Borneo, Indonesia, Southwest China, South Asia and Southeast Asia.


A very popular leaf vegetable with very high yields.


Cuttings: Plant mature or younger stems, the leafless stalks after harvesting leaves. Plants are usually propagated vegetatively, since the plant grows readily from cuttings. First harvest may be taken after 55-70 days 1

Seeds: Seed longevity is poor, seeds remain viable for only a few months.

More... pdf


Keep trimmed: two to six feet tall. Continued pruning will encourage new growth which will thrive if given regular fertilizer, plenty of water and some shade.

Food Uses
Leaves, also young tender tips and flowers. The tips and young tender growth can be served in a green salad, or 6" to 12" tips, a little like asparagus, stir fried or steamed. The older leaves stripped easily from the stems, between the thumb and forefingers, can be torn or crushed before cooking. In Borneo a popular meal is to stir-fry the crushed leaves with eggs, and another is to add them to boiling stock, both served with rice. The small, white fruits are sometimes comfited into a sweetmeal.  In Vietnam leaves are often made into a soup with shrimp, crab or minced pork. Leaves are used for dying food and they can also be used as feed for cattle and poultry. 1

General Uses
Katuk can be grown as an edible hedge and when harvested regularly can be kept in excellent shape.

Medicinal Uses **
Leaves and roots have medicinal properties. Is commonly used as an effective medicinal herb in the treatment of diabetics, cancer, inflammation, microbial infection, cholesterol and allergy due to its antioxidant effect.
1, 3

Nutritional Value
The leaves of Sauropus androgynus leaves has a high level of provitamin A carotenoids, especially in freshly picked leaves, as well as high levels of vitamins B and C, protein and minerals. Nutrient content of the leaves is usually higher in more mature leaves. Sauropus androgynus ethanolic plant extracts showed anti-inflammatory effects on nitric oxide inhibitory activity and antioxidant activity. 3

More... pdf 6 pages

Analysis of Sweet Leaf Bush (S. androgynus) 4

Moisture Content 70%
Crude Protein


(on Dry Matter basis)*



Dried Bananas 1.5%



Dried Skim milk 1.3%



Dried soybeans 0.5%

Magnesium 0.5%

199.0 PPM

Dried Parsley 410.0 PPM

Fibre 14 - 18%


Links of Interest

Herbs are Special herbsarespecial.com.au 
Edible Plant Project edibleplantproject.org


Growers & Vendors


1 "Sauropus androgynus." ecocrop.fao.org. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. N.d. Web 12 Jul. 2014.

2 "Plant Profile." usda.gov. U. S. Department of Agriculture. N.d. Web 14 Jul. 2014.

3 Senthamarai Selvi. V and Anusha Basker “Phytochemical Analysis and GC-MS profiling in the leaves of Sauropus Androgynus (l) MERR,” ijddr.in. Int. J. Drug Dev. & Res., Jan-March 2012, 4(1): 162-167. Web. 10 Aug. 2013.

4 Bovey, Arthur. "Sweet Leaf Bush II."  Jul. 1996. rfcarchives.org.au. The Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Web. 12 Jul. 2014
5 Deane, Green . "Katuk Kontroversy." eattheweeds.com.  Web. 19 Nov. 2016.


Fig. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 Jackson, Karen. "Katuk Series." 2013. JPEG file.

UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
** Information provided is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions.

Published 11 Jul. 2013 KJ. Updated 23 Aug. 2014

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