What is That Green Plant at the Asik-Asik Falls

The beauty of Asik-Asik Falls is incomplete without. that species of water-loving plant which blends with the cascading fresh water on the cliff at Sitio Dulao, Dado, Alamada, Cotabato, Philippines.  It adds grandeur to the scenery but since the falls was introduce to public in 2012, that particular species of the plant remains unidentified.

The flowers of this herb are very small, compactly arranged on fleshy pads (glomerules) at the base of leaves. The color of the flower is white to greenish with little purple on the tip of the tiny petals.

The leaves are almost lanceolate and the surface of leaves is rough, bristly and wrinkled but stinging hairs are absent. The color is green but the young tops are yellow green.

It doesn't have fruits and has no distich fragrance.

A perennial herb that spreads by means of a fleshy horizontal stem (rhizome) which gives rise at intervals to numerous erect branches with green leaves.

When I researched about this plant, I found out that it is an Elatostema species which is closely similar to rainforest spinach (Elatostema lineolatum).

Elatostema is a genus of flowering plants containing approximately 350 known species in the nettle family Urticaceae, native to tropical forest clearings throughout Australasia, Asia and Africa. There may be as many as 1,000 species of this little-known genus, which is susceptible to deforestation and other forms of human exploitation.

Acording to several online references, most of the species of Elatostema can be found in forests of Southeast Asia, and many of it still hasn't been described in botanical literature. And as for those that already was, there is still lots of problems with its proper classification. There is quite a mess with naming, some species has been given many different botanical names in different regions, and some scientific latin names are attached mistakenly to plants from few different Elatostema species.

This species that is found in Alamada, Cotabato has almost similar appearance with Elatostema lineolatum or commonlt known as rainforest spinach but the difference is the texture of the leaves and stem. While E. lineolatum has smooth texture, the Asik-Asik Plant has rough, bristly and wrinkled and the stem has hairs.

Asik-Asik Plant also grows along a waterfalls, which soaks the whole plant all year round.

No one know in the locality the particular common name of the plant and since it is known to be abundantly growing at the Asik-Asik Falls, people simple call it Asik-Asik Plant, but for the mean time you can also call it by its genus, which is "Elatostema".

Further research is needed to identify the specific scientific Latin name of this species because physical feature and natural habitat do not match with existing species published online. Other uses of this plant may be identified through a further study.


Polska wersja (2018). Elatostema lineolatum and other Elatostema species - Rainforest Spinach. Herbs from Distant Lands. Accessed on 2022, April 16. <http://herbsfromdistantlands.blogspot.com/2018/06/elatostama-lineolatum-and-other.html>;

Fu L, Monro A, Do TV, Nuraliev MS, Averyanov LV, Wen F, Xin Z, Maisak TV, Kuznetsov AN, Kuznetsova SP, Nguyen KS, Wei Y. 2019. Checklist to the Elatostema (Urticaceae) of Vietnam including 19 new records, ten new combinations, two new names and four new synonyms. PeerJ 7:e6188 <https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6188>;

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