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(This whole page is a poor attempt of translation of the Illustrated Handbook for Medicinal Materials from Nature in Yunnan, mistakes are and will be made, sorry)

Sanbaicao - Saururus chinensis (Lour.) Baill.

Chinese name

三白草 sā bái cǎo

Other names

Latin name

Saururus chinensis (Lour.) Baill.



Description from Flora of China

Spathium chinense Loureiro, Fl. Cochinch. 217. 1790; Saururopsis chinensis (Loureiro) Turczaninow; S. cumingii C. de Candolle; Saururus cernuus Thunberg (1784), not Linnaeus (1753); S. loureiri Decaisne.

Herbs to more than 1 m high; rhizomes creeping, white, thick. Stems strong, basal part creeping and usually whitish, apical part erect and green. Stipular sheath 2-10 mm, ca. as long as petiole, slightly clasping; petiole 1-3 cm, glabrous; leaf blade ovate to ovate-lanceolate, (4-)10-20 × (2-)5-10 cm, papery, densely glandular, glabrous, base cordate or oblique-cordate, apex acute or acuminate; veins 5-7, basal, if 7-veined, outermost pair slender, ascending and then arched and combined; reticulate veins conspicuous. Apical leaves smaller, 2 or 3 at stem apex, usually petal-like, white at anthesis. Inflorescence an elongated, axillary or terminal raceme, (3-)12-20 (-22) cm; peduncles 0.5-4.5 cm, glabrous; rachis densely pubescent. Bract beneath each flower spatulate, basal part linear and pilose, apical part orbicular and glabrous or sparsely ciliate, small, apex rounded to acute. Filaments slightly longer than anthers. Fruit subglobose, ca. 3 mm in diam., tuberculate. Fl. Apr-Jun, fr. Jun-Jul. 2n = 22*.


Wet places, ditches, meadows, riverbanks, streamsides, forests, thickets, roadsides, field margins; near sea level to 1700 m. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [India, Japan (including Ryukyu Islands), Korea, Philippines, Vietnam]

Type from Guangzhou, Guangdong.

Used parts



Medicinal use