Melanthera biflora is a hardy and somewhat woody, sprawling perennial herb or subshrub. Stems are elongate and branched; they can reach up to 2 m but will bend after reaching a certain height. It can scramble and straggle over the ground or climb leaning on other plants for support. The leaves are ovate, shortly tapering at the base. It produces small yellow flower heads with a diameter of about 8–10 mm. The fruits form a dense head.
Melanthera biflora's facts
Melanthera biflora is a moderately salt-tolerant plant found in the tropical belt of the Indo-Pacific region
Melanthera biflora's Behavior & Ecology
It is found commonly in islands and in coastal areas, although it sometimes occurs inland in neglected and unmanaged plantations as well as in ruderal environments.
Melanthera biflora's Relationship with Humans
Despite the rough appearance of the plant, the leaves are edible. In Malaysian cuisine the shoots are eaten cooked as a leaf vegetable and in Langkawi they are eaten raw with chilli and sambal shrimp paste. Leaves also have traditional medicinal uses as poultice or as decoction. Melanthera biflora has traditionally been used as a medicinal plant in many cultures. Leaves are especially valued against stomachache. In Fiji the leaves are used to treat acne. Root extracts have anthelmintic properties and flowers can be used as a purgative. This plant is also used as fodder for rabbits.