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Pennywort is a perennial herb that grows in damp areas. It creeps, generally pollinating itself, and forms a mat in fens, bogs, other wet areas.

The stalk is 2 1/2 to 5 inches tall (5 to 10 cm.) Each stem has a single leaf on it, at the very top and attached to the stem right in its centre.

The leaves grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide, about the size of an old British big penny, but heart or kidney shaped.

The plant will produce 2 to 4 teeny, pinkish-white blossoms.

The stem, leaves and roots are edible.

It is called "pegaga" in Malaysia, where it is used in salads and in some rice dishes, and a drink is often made from it, or it can be used in raita.

Vietnamese tend to use a variety called Hydrocotyle or Centella javanica, with larger leaves.


Many health benefits are attributed to it.

History Notes

The Brahmin class in India believed that it improved their memory.

Language Notes

Sometimes called "Water Pennywort", but that is perhaps best reserved for a variety that grows in shallow water, with its leaves floating on the surface, and form a dense mat on the edge of ponds, streams, etc. Water Pennywort is native to North America, invasive in Australia and Europe, particularly the Netherlands. In North America, it's a protected plant in many jurisdictions.

See also:


Angelica; Angostura Bark; Bay Leaf; Borage; Chamomile; Chervil; Chives; Comfrey; Curry Leaves; Dill; Dried Herbs; Epazote; Filé; Folium Indicum; Garlic Greens; Green Garlic; Gruit; Herbes Salées; Herbs; Hops; Jacob's Ladder; Lady's Bedstraw; Lavender; Loroco; Lovage; Marjoram; Mexican Tarragon; Mint; Mugwort Powder; Oregano; Pennywort; Potherbs; Rolling Mincer; Rosemary; Rue; Sachet Bags; Sage; Salad Burnet; Sarsaparilla; Sassafrass; Savoury; Screw Pine Leaves; Shiso Leaves; Silphium; Sorrel; Stevia; Sweet Cicely; Tarragon; Thyme; Trefoil; Valerian; Wild Garlic; Winter Purslane; Wormwood; Yarrow; Yomogi

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Also called:

Asian Pennywort; Asiatic Coinwort; Asiatic Pennywort; Indian Pennywort; Indian Water Navelwort; Marsh Penny; Marsh Pennywort; Pennyweed; Sheep-Rot; Spadeleaf; Thick-leaved Pennywort; White Rot; Centelle asiatique, Écuelle d'eau, Fausse violette, Hydrocotyle (French); Asiatischer Wassernabel (German); Erba delle tigri, Idrocotile, Scodella d'acqua (Italian); Hierba de clavo, Sombrerito (Spanish); Bemgsag, Brahmanduki, Brahmi, Gotu kola, Khulakhudi, Mandukparni, Thankuni, Valarai (Indian); Tsubo kusa (Japanese); Ching chow sui, Hang kor chow (Chinese)


Oulton, Randal. "Pennywort." CooksInfo.com. Published 10 July 2005; revised 18 May 2007. Web. Accessed 03/19/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/pennywort>.

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