Malpighia polytricha A. Juss.
Common Names: Touch-Me-Not, Wild Cherry
Habit: Malpighia polytricha grows as a small to medium shrub up to 3 m in height (typically shorter). The leaves are arranged oppositely, to 6 cm in length, oblong to oval with a retuse-rounded-acute leaf apex, and an entire or slightly dentate margin. The leaf is pale green with the surfaces covered with disarticulating stinging/irritating trichomes.
The actinomorphic flowers are arranged in axillary cymes. At the base of the flower are 3 bracts and 10 sepal glands in pairs. The calyx has 5 unfused green sepals. The corolla has 5 unfused, clawed pinkish red petals that are fringed along their outer edge. There are 10 stamens that are fused at their base and have yellow stamens. The 3-lobed ovary is superior with 3 locules, numerous seeds, and a curved style. The fruit is a drupe that turns red at maturity.
Habitat: Malpighia polytricha grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation- Forests/Woodlands/Shrublands (coppice, scrublands).
Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Malpighia polytricha occurs throughout all island groupings in the Bahamian Archipelago as well as Cuba.
Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Malpighia polytricha is used in the Bahamas in strengthening teas (from the roots) as well as to treat respiratory problems (coughs, tuberculosis), and childhood issues (bed wetting)