Species Guide: Craft Plants


White flowers of inai plant. Dinesh Valke from Thane, India, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Common name: Henna Tree, Egyptian Privet

Malay name: Inai

Scientific nameLawsonia inermis

Conservation Status: Cultivated, Native to Malaysia


A shrub or small tree that reaches 2-6 m in height. Stem is slender and much-branched. Old branches can be spiny. It bears small, white, fragrant, clustered flowers. Fruits are round and brown in colour.

Habit: Perennial shrub or tree

Cultivation: It is planted by seeds, cuttings or air-layering

Ecological function: The fruits of this plant are eaten by birds. It is used as a hedge plant. It provides shade. It is used for erosion control.

Pollinator: Self-pollinating

Soil: Sandy soils. It tolerates clay and stony soils.

Moisture: Fertile, well-drained or dry soil. Mature plants are drought-tolerant.

Shade: No shade

Use in crafting: The leaves of this plant are used to colour fingernails and to paint or decorate palms of hands and soles of feet. It is also used for hair-dyeing. The fibres of branches and stem bark are used to make baskets.

Other use: The flowers of this plant are used in perfumery. Its wood is used for fuel. This plant is used as an ornamental plant for its fragrant flowers.

By ShangMing

A plant lover. I like small, medium, gigantic, ordinary, exotic, local, foreign plants. Just because they thrive to stand out.