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Family Orchidaceae
Grammatophyllum scriptum (Linn.) Blume

Scientific names Common names
Cymbidium scriptum (L.) Sw. Tawa-tawa (Tag.)
Epidendrum scriptum Linn. Bell orchid (Engl.)
Gabertia scripta (L.) Gaudich Leopard orchid (Engl.)
Grammatophyllum boweri F. Muell.  
Grammatophyllum celebicum Schltr.  
Grammatophyllum leopardinum Rchb.f.  
Grammatophyllum scriptum (Linn.) Blume Tiger orchid (Engl.)
Grammatophyllum seegerianum Hook.f.  
Vanda scripta Spreng.  
Tawa-tawa is a shared common name of (1) Euphorbia hirta, gatas-gatas (2) Grammatophyllum scriptum, tawa-tawa, and (3) Ricinus communis, tañgan-tañgan, tawa-tawa
Grammatophyllum scriptum (L.) Blume is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
INDONESIAN: Angrec calappa, Angrek boki, Bonga boki, Bunga bidadari.
MALAY: Saja baki, Saja ngawa, Ngawan, Saja ngawa.

Tawa-tawa is an epiphytic orchid which is variable in size. Pseudobulbs are stout, ovoid or fusiform, terete, and 12 to 20 centimeters long. Leaves are oblanceolate, oblong, and 20 to 40 centimeters long. Racemes with the peduncle are 0.6 to 1.5 meters long, spreading, and nodding or pendulous. Flowers are numerous, each about 5 to 8 centimeters across. Sepals and petals are obovate-oblong, yellowish-green, and covered with large, reddish-brown blotches. Lip is three-lobed, and yellow with purple nerves. Column is incurved. Anther is orbicular and hairy, the pollinia subglobose.

- Widely distributed in the Philippines, from sea level to an altitude of 500 meters.
- Occurs in Indonesia, Borneo and New Guinea.

Parts used


- In upland Cavite, decoction of leaves used for fever and colds, cough and flu. (3)
- In Indonesia, paste of pseudobulb put on sores or applied to the stomach to expel worms and malignant tumors. Decoction of whole plant used to expel worms.
- In Indonesia, paste from pseudobulbs pounded together with Curcuma domestica (turmeric) is applied on fingers afflicted with whitlow (bacrterial infection of the nailbed). (4)
- Paste of bulb used for treating sores and intestinal afflictions.
- Macerated orchid used for treating aphthae.
- Used as part of diet for dysentery.
- In the Siiwai and Buin districts of Bougainville, stems used by mothers who have delivered but are not lactating. (2)
- Spells: In the Moluccas, the seeds have been added to a woman's food to cast a love spell and ensnare her for life.

No studies found.


Updated October 2018 / June 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Grammatophyllum scriptum Blanco2.276-original.png / Flora de Filipinas / 1880 - 1883 / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A) / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / File:Grammatophyllum scriptum var. Yunnan Tiger / © Mahmud Yussop / Laman Kambatik Plants List (4th Ed.) / click on image to go to source page / All The Plants 4

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
The uses and misuses of orchids in medicine / C.J. Bulpitt / QJM: An International Journal of Medicine Volume 98, Issue 9Pp. 625-631
An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used in the Siwai and Buin districts of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville / Julie Waruruai, Beuluah Sipana, Michael Kock, Louis R Barrows, Teatulohi K Matainaho, and Prem P Raja / J Ethnopharmacol., 18 Nov 2011; 138(2): pp 564-577 / doi:  10.1016/j.jep.2011.09.052
COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINES AMONG RESIDENTS IN UPLAND CAVITE, PHILIPPINES: THEIR KNOWLEDGE, PATTERNS OF USE AND ATTITUDES / Johnny A Ching, Rodante G Flores and Maxima J Acelajado / Journal of Experimental Biology and Agricultural Sciences, April 2016; 4(2) / DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18006/2016.4(2)133.141
Grammatophyllum scriptum / Eng Soon Teoh / Medicinal Orchids of Asia
Grammatophyllum scriptum / Synonyms / The Plant List

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.

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