Mussaenda frondosa – Dhobi Tree, Wild Mussaenda

Other notes

Natural History: This large shrub or straggler ('scandent climber') normally grows to approx. 2-4 m in height. It has red or yellow flowers, with a prominent white bract.

It is native to moist forests of S and SE Asia.


Notes: This plant has been reported as a larval host for Athyma opalina – Hill Sergeant from China and Athyma selenophora – Staff Sergeant from China and Japan (HOSTS, 2023). It might be used in India, too, but this needs confirmation.



Nitin, R., V. C. Balakrishnan, P. V. Churi, S. Kalesh, S. Prakash, and K. Kunte. 2018. Larval host plants of the butterflies of the Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 10:11495–11550. DOI:

HOSTS (2023) - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants. Accessed on 24 Jan 2023. URL:

WFO (2023): World Flora Online. Accessed on 24 Jan 2023. URL:

Flowers of India (2023). Accessed on 24 Jan 2023. URL:

Page citation

Kawthankar, N. and K. Kunte. 2024. Mussaenda frondosa L. – Dhobi Tree, Wild Mussaenda. In Kunte, K., S. Sondhi, and P. Roy (Chief Editors). Butterflies of India, v. 4.12. Published by the Indian Foundation for Butterflies. URL:, accessed 2024/07/16.