Plant Listings

Thespesia populnea

Thespesia populnea (L.) Soland. ex Correa

Common Name: Sea-side Mahoe, Cork Tree, Spanish Cork

Family: Malvaceae

Habit: Thespesia populnea grows as a large shrub to tree to 8 meters in height with peeling, scaly bark.  The leaves are arranged alternately, to 13 cm long, ovate to orbicular with an entire leaf margin, acute leaf apex and cordate base with glands.  The leaves are glabrous.

The actinomorphic, complete, perfect flowers are arranged in leaf axils. The calyx has 5 green, fused sepals forming a shallow cup. The corolla has 5 yellow, unfused petals with a red-purple spot at the base of each. The corolla changes to a darker almost purple color as the flower ages. There are numerous stamens that are fused forming a tube around the style. The ovary is superior with 5 locules and numerous ovules.  The fruit is a woody capsule that is brown at maturity breaking apart rather than splitting along suture lines. The seeds are pubescent.

Habitat: Thespesia populnea grows around fresh and saline wetlands, along coastal areas including Dunes and Human Altered Environments.

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Thespesia populnea grows throughout the Bahamian Archipelago as well as tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Likely Old World-Indian continent in origin.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Thespesia populnea is used medicinally in the Bahamas to treat pain (Headaches).
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