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Family Araceae
Epipremnum pinnatum
(L.) Engl.

Long wei cao

Scientific names Common names
Epipremnum angustilobum K.Krause Amiling (Is.)
Epipremnum crassifolium Engl. Amlong (Bik., Bis.)
Epipremnum elegans Engl. Amolong (Ilk.)
Epipremnum elegans f. ternatensis Alderw. Amuling (Is.)
Epipremnum formosanum Hayata Bagak ( S. L. Bis.)
Epipremnum glaucicephalum Elmer Bakag (Bik.)
Epipremnum merrillii Engl. & K.Krause Balikupkup (Bis.)
Epipremnum mirabile Schott Balision (Is.)
Epipremnum mirabile f. eperforatum Engl. Bisako (Bis.)
Epipremnum mirabile f. multisectum Engl. Daila (Bis.)
Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl. Dibatib (Bis.)
Epipremnum pinnatum f. multisectum (Engl.) Engl. Dukup (Bon.)
Epipremnum robinsonii K.Krause Garban (Bis.)
Monstera caudata (Roxb.) Schott Garusiba (Ibn.)
Monstera dilacerata (K.Koch & Sello) K.Koch. Gatgati (Bon.)
Monstera pinnata (L.) Schott. Gayaman (Sbl.)
Philodendron dilaceratum Engl. Horoa (Bis.)
Philodendron nechodomae Britton Kigau (Bon.)
Philodendron pinnatum (L.) Andre Kilat (Sbl.)
Polypodium laciniatum Burm.f. Malapakpak-balauai (Tag.)
Pothos caudatus Roxb. Mamisi (Ig.)
Pothos decursivus Wall. Maragayaman (Sbl.)
Pothos pinnatus L. Tabatib (Tag.)
Pothos pinnatifidus Roxb. Takoling (C. Bis.)
Raphidophora caudata (Roxb.) Schott Takotin (Bis.)
Raphidophora crassifolia (Engl.) Alderw. Tampinbanal (Tag.)
Raphidophora cunninghamii Schott Tibatib (Tag.)
Raphidophora dilacerata (K.Koch & Sello) K.Koch Centipede tongavine (Engl.)
Raphidophora formosana (Hayata) M.Hotta Dragon tail plant (Engl.)
Raphidophora lacianiata (Burm.f.) Merr. Silver vine (Engl.)
Raphidophora lovellae F.M.Bailey Taro vine (Engl.)
Raphidophora merrillii Engl.  
Raphidophora neocaledonica Guillaumin  
Raphidophora pinnata (L.) Schott  
Raphidophora pinnatifida (Roxb.) Schott  
Raphidophora rosenburghii Furtado  
Raphidophora vitensis Schott  
Raphidophora wallichii Schott  
Scindapsus bipinnatifidus Teijsm. & Binn.  
Scindapsus caudatus (Roxb.) Schott  
Scindapsus decursivus Mortizi  
Scindapsus dilaceratus K.Koch & Sello  
Scindapsus forsteri Endl.  
Scindapsus pinnatifidus (Roxb.) Schott  
Scindapsus pinnatus (L.) Schott  
Tornelia dilacerata (K.Koch & Sello) Schott  

Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Some compilations list Epipremnum aureum and E. pinnatum as synonyms. Many list them as separate species. Unfortunately, there is a confusing cross-over and sharing of common names viz. golden pothos, money plants, taro vine etc. I have separated the two species as Epipremnum pinnatum (Tabatib, Dragon tail plant, Centipede tongavine) and Epipremnum aureum (Golden pothos, Taro vine). (G.Stuart)

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ling shu teng, Bai su jiao, Bai zu teng, Shang shu long, Long wei cao, Qi lin ye.
FIJIAN: Wa yalu, Alu, Naca, Yalu.
INDIA: Gajathippali, Panniperndai, Naca.
INDONESIAN: Lolo munding, Jalu mampang, Samblung.
MALAYSIAN: Kelem-bahang, Kelempayan.
MAORI: 'ara
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Galgalut, Galogalomi, Garegaigi, Golong.
SAMOAN: Lau mai'a, Fue lau fao.
SPANISH: Cortina, Enredadera.
THAI: Ngot, Ngot khao, Naang rong.
VANUATU: Ragdalo.
VIETNAMESE: R[as]y leo l[as] x[er], R[as]y ng[os]t.

Gen info
- Epipremnum is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araceae. They are evergreen perennial vines climbing with the aid of aerial roots.
- All plants of the genus Epipremnum are considered toxic, mostly due to the presence of trichosclereids (long sharp cells) and raphides. Plants are commonly grown as houseplants in temperate regions are known as centipede tongavine, pothos or devil's ivy.
- Etymology: The genus name Epipremnum derives from Greek terms epi (upon) and premna (tree stump), referring to the epiphytic growth habit of the plants in the genus. The species epithet pinnatum refers to the pinnately-lobed shape of mature leaves.

Tibatib is a stout vine climbing on tree trunks, reaching a height of 5 to 6 meters. Leaves are oblong-ovate, up to 60 centimeters long, pinnately cleft almost to the midrib into 7 to 12 pairs of lanceolate, acuminate, falcate, 1-nerved lobes, 12 to 20 centimeters long, 2 to 5 centimeters wide. Spathes are several, terminal, white or greenish, in flower about 15 centimeters long and deciduous. Spadix is green, dense, cylindric, nearly or as long as the spathe, 2 to 2.5 centimeters thick in flower, thicker in fruit. Fruit is a greenish berry with a few seeds embedded in an orange-red pulp.

Epipremnum pinnatum is a large epiphytic aroid root-climber, scrambling up trees and rock surfaces with network of aerial clasping roots. Leaf morphology varies with physiological age of plant. Juvenile plants are terrestrial creepers. Plant produces mature leaves only when there is sufficient climbing height. Young leaves elliptical to arrow-shaped with entire margins. Mature leaves up to 30 - 50cm long, thick and leathery, ovate and pinnatifid (deeply incised along margins), often with white spots and pin-holes along mid-rib, and with fenestrations (windows) in leaf-blade -- superficially resembling Monstera species. Small (3-7mm across) on spathe-spadix inflorescences. Spathe (modified leaf) canoe-shaped, 10cm long, greenish on outside, creamy-white on inside; Monoecious species, spadix holds male and female flowers separately, white when fresh, maturing to creamy grey-green and then dark yellowish-green during anthesis, before air-drying to dark brown or almost black after anthesis. (11)

- Native to the Philippines.
- In thickets and forests at low and medium altitudes in Bontoc, Benguet, La Union, Nueva Viscaya, Zambales, Bataan, Rizal, Laguna, Quezon, and Sorsogon provinces in Luzon; Polilio, Palawan, Leyte, Negros and Mindanao.
- Urban ornamental cultivation.

- Also native to Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Cambodia, Caroline Is., China, Cook Is., Fiji, Hainan, India, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Maluku, Marshall Is., Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, New Caledonia, New Guinea, Nicobar Is., Northern Territory, Queensland, Samoa, Santa Cruz, Solomon Is., Sulawesi. Sumatera, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wallis-Futuna Is. (4)

- Yields Benzenoid (11-phenyldecanoic acid, 15-phenylpen- tadecanoic acid, 13-phenyltridecanoic acid) and alkaloid (tongine).
- Phytochemical screening of Rhaphidophora pinnata leaves yielded alkaloids, glycosides, saponins, flavonoids, tannins, and triterpenoids/steroid compound. (see study below) (10)
- Bioactive-guided fractionation of leaves using expression of PTGS2 (COX2) mRNA isolated two C13 megastigmane glycosides, gusanlungionoside C (1) and citroside A (3), and the phenylalcohol glycoside phenylmethyl-2-O-(6-O-rhamnosyl)-ß-D-galactopyranoside (2), along with six additional megastigmane glycosides and aglycones ß-damascenone (10), megastigmatrienone (11), 3-hydroxy-ß-damascenone (12), and 3-oxo-7.8-dihydro-α-ionol (13). (see study below) (17)

- Epipremnum pinnatum contains calcium oxalate crystals that are toxic to both humans and pets. Ingestion by pets can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, drooling and pawing at the mouth. In humans, it can also cause burning or swelling around the mouth, general skin irritation, and contact dermatitis. All species in the genus Epipremnum share in toxicity potential. A case of toxic keratitis have been reported with Epipremnum aureum
(Golden pothos).

- Emmenagogue, antidotal, anticancer.
- Leaves considered tonic and antirheumatic.
- Studies have suggested anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties.

Parts utilized
Sap, leaves.

• Sap used for snake bites.
• Stem used as toothbrush to improve the breath.
• Spadix of plant used as emmenagogue.
• Leaves used for chest pains.
• Root, stem and leaf sheath chewed to alleviate dental ailments, also used for its soothing, sedating effect.
• Used for treatment of diabetes, cancer, and immune system enhancement.
• In Fiji, bark used as treatment of rheumatism, neuralgic headache, back pain, and muscular spasm.
• In Taiwan, used as dental analgesic.
• Mixture of young leaves of E. pinnatum and Imperata cylindrica is crushed in water or coconut juice and solution drunk to treat gonorrhea. Young leaves boiled in water used to treat diabetes and malaria; also used for toothaches. Juice extracted from stem mixed with water and drunk for joint paints, dislocation, and fractures. (6)
• In Chinese medicine, used for rheumatism, dysentery and fractures.
• Decoction of leaves used for treatment of malaria.
• Stem juice mixed with water and drunk for joint problems, fractures, and dislocations.
• Decoction of leaves use as gargle and mouth wash for gum inflammations and tooth abscesses.

• In Malaysia and Singapore, Epipremnum pinnatum has a reputation as anticancer preparation and a remedy for skin diseases.
• In Fiji, stem considered to have contraceptive properties while the liquid expressed from the stem is used to regulate menstruation and promote fertility. (13)
• In India, bark used for wound healing. (16)
Teeth-blackening: Vine used by some Mindanao tribes, also in Bali, Java and Taiwan, used as a chewing agent for
teeth blackening. (3)
Basketry: Inner part or central cylinder of root used for basketry, lamp shades, etc.

Anticancer / Apoptotic and Non-Apoptotic Mechanisms:
Study of chloroform extract showed growth inhibition against T-47D breast carcinoma cells. Analysis of cell death mechanisms showed the extract elicited both apoptotic and non-apoptotic programmed cell deaths, possibly contributed to by up-regulation of caspase-3 and c-myc mRNA expression, respectively. (2)
Inhibition of Pancreatic Lipase: Study evaluated the an extract of E. pinnatum on pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity using Chicken pancreas model. Results showed lipase inhibition activity by 74% using 48 µg/ml of E. pinnatum extract. (7)
Anticancer / Non-Apoptotic Cell Death: A hexane extract of E. pinnatum produced significant growth inhibition against T-47D breast carcinoma. Analysis of cell death mechanisms indicated the extract elicited a non-apoptotic programmed cell death. The up-regulation of c-myc mRNA expression may have contributed to the growth arrest and type II non-apoptotic programmed cell death in the extract treated T-47D cells. (8)
Anti-Inflammatory / COX-2 Inhibition: Cox-2 is a mediator of inflammation and is highly expressed in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and various autoimmune disorders. Study evaluated various leaf extracts of E. pinnatum on COX-2 gene expression. Results showed a methanol extract exhibited strong COX-2 gene expression inhibition in-vitro. (9)
Antibacterial / Leaves: Study evaluated ethyl acetate and ethanols extracts of Rhaphidophora pinnata leaves against Streptococcus mutans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi, and Shigella dysenteriae bacteria. The ethanol extract showed satisfactory activity against P. aeruginosa. The EA extract showed satisfactory activity against four types of bacteria. (see constituents above) (10)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Toxicity Study / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated ethanol extracts of aerial parts of R. pertusa and Epipremnum pinnatum for anti-inflammatory activity in Wistar albino rats and analgesic effects in Swiss albino mice. Both showed significant inhibition of carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats and significant inhibition of acetic acid-induced writhing in mice. In toxicity study, no mortality occurred within 24 hours of 3 doses of RP and EP (125, 250, and 500 mg/kg). The LD50 of both extracts was greater than 500 mg/kg p.o. in mice. (12)
• Inhibition of Pancreatic Lipase Activity: Study of E. pinnatum extract using chicken pancreas showed 75% inhibition of pancreatic lipase activity. (14)
• COX-2 mRNA Inhibition: Study of E. pinnatum displayed promising COX-2 mRNA inhibition at 20 g/ml. Study yielded citroside A, qusanlungionoside C, and phenylmethyl-2-O-(6-O-rhamnosyl)-ß-D-galactopyranoside. One of the glycons, -damascenone, showed promising COX-2 mRNA inhibition (IC50=25.8 M). -Damascenone was not cytotoxic up to 50M. Results suggest -damascenone anti-inflammatory effect is expressed by targeting NF-B. (15)
• Megastigmane Derivatives / ß-Damascenone / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study evaluated leaf extracts of E. pinnatum for ability to inhibit inflammatory gene expression in endothelial- and monocyte-like cells (HUVECtert and THP-1, respectively). Bioactive-guided fractionation isolated two C13 megastigmane glycosides, gusanlungionoside C (1) and citroside A (3), and the phenylalcohol glycoside phenylmethyl-2-O-(6-O-rhamnosyl)-ß-D-galactopyranoside (2), along with six additional megastigmane glycosides and aglycones ß-damascenone (10), megastigmatrienone (11), 3-hydroxy-ß-damascenone (12), and 3-oxo-7.8-dihydro-α-ionol (13). Compound 10 (ß-damascenone) inhibited LPS-stimulated induction of mRNAs encoding for proinflammatory cytokines and leukocyte adhesion molelcules. Compound 10 also inhibited upregulation of inflammatory proteins and inhibited NF-kB dependent transcription. Study suggests the inhibition of NF-kB by ß-damascenone (10) may be one of the mechanisms underlying the in vitro anti-inflammatory activity of E. pinnatum extracts. (17)
• Hypoglycemic / Leaves: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic property of Tibatib leaf extract on alloxan-induced Sprague Dawley rats. Extract was administered by oral gavage. Results showed the leaf extract can lower blood glucose levels as effectively as positive control metformin. (18)

- Wildcrafted.
- Ornamental cultivation.

Updated June 2023 / November 2017 / October 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Illustration: Epipremnum pinnatum / 1831 / Gorachand / Plantae Asiaticae Rariores, Vol 2: t.192 (1831) /
Pulbic Domain / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Epipremnum pinnatum / 1831 / NathanBeach / Pulbic Domain / Wikipedia
Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Epipremnum / Wikipedia
ANTICANCER MEDICINAL PLANT, Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl. CHLOROFORM EXTRACTS ELICITED BOTH APOPTOTIC AND NON-APOPTOTIC CELL DEATHS IN T- 47D MAMMARY CARCINOMA CELLS / Tan Mei Lan, Shaida Fariza Sulaiman, Nazalan Najimudin, Tengku Sifzizul Tengku Muhammad / KMITL Sci. Tech. J. , 2007; 7(1) / ISSN: 1905-2367
To Strengthen the Teeth and Harden the Gums - Teeth blackening as medical practice in Asia, Micronesia and Melanesia / Thomas J. Zumbroich / Ethnobotany Research & Applications
Rhaphidophora merrillii Engl. / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Epipremnum pinnatum / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Epipremnum pinnatum L. Araceae / Medicinal Plants in Papua New Guinea / WHO
Epipremnum pinnatum Activity on Chick Pancreatic Lipase / Edited by Abdul Hadi, Fazlena Hamzah and Miradatul Najwa Mohd Rodhi / Advanced Materials Research Vol 1113 / Chapter II: Bio and Chemical Engineering Materials, Technologies and Applications
Growth arrest and non-apoptotic programmed cell death associated with the up-regulation of c-myc mRNA expression in T-47D breast tumor cells following exposure to Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl. hexane extract / M.L. Tan, T.S. Tengku Muhammad, N. Najimudin, S.F. Sulaiman / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 96, Issue 3, 15 January 2005, Pages 375–383
nhibition of COX-2 expression in PMA differentiated THP-1 macrophages by extracts of Epipremnum pinnatum / SP Pan, R Bauer / Planta Med 2015; 81 - PM_154 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1565531
Antibacterial activity of Ethyl Acetate and Ethanol extract of Rhaphidophora pinnata (L.f) Schott leaf against four types of Bacteria / Masfria / International Journal of ChemTech Research, Vol.8, No.6, pp 905-914, 2015
Epipremnum pinnatum / National Parks: FLORA & FAUNA WEB
Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-lipid peroxidative effects of Rhaphidophora pertusa (Roxb.) Schott. and Epipremnum pinnatum (Linn.) Engl. aerial parts / A Linnet, PG Latha*, MM Gincy, GI Anuja, SR Suja, S Shyamal, VJ Shine, S Sini, P Shikha, Mathew Dan and S Rajasekharan / Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources, 2010; 1(1): pp. 5-10
Epipremnum pinnatum / R C Cambie, A A Brewis / Anti-Fertility Plants of the Pacific / Google EBook
Epipremnum pinnatum Activity on Chick Pancreatic Lipase / F. Hamzah et al. / Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 1113, pp. 182-186, 2015
Phytochemical and pharmacological studies of leaves of Epipremnum pinnatum with a special focus on the inhibition of COX-2 and IL-8 expression / Graz, Jänner / Dissertation (PhD) 2017
Wound Healing and Ficus arnottiana Miq. – A Review / Ashok Kumar / Indian Health Journal
C13 Megastigmane Derivatives From Epipremnum pinnatum: β-Damascenone Inhibits the Expression of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines and Leukocyte Adhesion Molecules as Well as NF-κB Signaling / San-Po Pan, Teresa Pirker, Olaf Kunert, Nadine Kretschmer, Rudolf Bauer et al / Frontiers in Pharmacology, 2019 / PMID: 31849641 / DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01351
Hypoglycemic Property of Tibatib (Epipremnum pinnatum) Leaf Extract on Alloxan-Induced Albino Rats (Sprague dawley) / Ranjon U Jonas, Mark Lorenz Q Micro, Raymond Daniel C Garcia / Ascendens Asia Journal of Multiidisciplinary Research Abstracts, 2019; 3(2N)

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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