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Phak Naam (Thai) Lasia (English)

Lasia spinosa


I went back to check this plant from a previous spotting thinking this flower was going to open but this is it. I also noticed that the ants had built a nest in some of the leaves, AND while I was taking these photos a snake slithered out beside my foot which I think may have been poisonous. What is the best action to take when this happens please?. Keep still and let it pass. Move slightly and hope that it returns into the undergrowth.....


  Herb, 40-120 cm high, leaf stalk thorny. Leaves rosette, simple, lanceolate, sagittate, or pinnatipartite, thorny along the veins, 30-45 cm long, up to 25 cm wide; petiole 20-50 cm long. Spathe twisted, opening only at the bases, 15-30 cm long, brown or purple; spadix cylindrical, up to 6-8 cm long and 3-3.5 cm wide; peduncle thorny. Berryobovoid, muricate at the top, 1 cm long; seed 5 mm long, 3.5 mm wide.   Common in moist, shaded areas along rivers in evergreen forest, widespread throughout the country. The plants are normally collected from natural habitat, it is occasionally grown for family consumption.   


First spotting - The plants are normally collected from natural habitat, it is occasionally grown for family consumption.   The young leaves are edible, but must be cooked or fermented to neutralize the hydrocyanic acid. They are eaten with, nam phrik plaa raa (chilli sauce with fermented fish), cooked in hot and sour soup or simply fried.   Both the rhizomes and leave are expectorants. The latter also help ease stomachaches. The roots are boiled and the water used to bath newborn babies.   Caution: This plant should not be eaten raw due to highly toxic prussic acid which is hydrolyzed to form the fatal hydrocyanic acid.

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VivBraznell 11 years ago

Thanks for the advice KarenL.
And no, I did'nt get a photo of the snake unfortunately.
I was - a) surprised to see it
b) too busy planning my escape

KarenL 11 years ago

Very interesting!
Re the snake - I personally would keep still & wait for the snake to move on as it is possible any movement could disturb it & cause it to strike in defence. If you have venomous snakes maybe it would be worth carrying a walking pole with you that you could use to move it if this happens again.
Did you manage to get a photo of the snake?

VivBraznell 11 years ago

Sorry ceherzog! I should of added the previous spotting .... which I have now. There is a photo of the complete plant and more detail of the leaves.
Have just looked up Araceae, I can see what you mean about the spathe, but did'nt manage to find a plant that was similar but will keep looking. These leaves and the stems have spikes on them don't know if that is of any use for other suggestions

ceherzog 11 years ago

It looks like the spathe of the flower of a plant in the Araceae. Maybe you could get some shots of the whole plant.

Very neat find.

Sachin Zaveri
Sachin Zaveri 11 years ago

Wonderful sharing,,

Spotted by


Spotted on Apr 12, 2012
Submitted on Apr 17, 2012

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