Plant Listings

Turnera ulmifolia

Common Names: Bahamian Buttercup, Buttercups, Yellow Alder

Family: Turneraceae

Habit: Turnera ulmifolia grows as a woody herbaceous shrub to 1 meter in height.  The leaves are arranged alternately, to 15 cm in length, lanceolate with a pair of glands at the leaf base.  The leaf has a dentate margin, an acute leaf apex, and varies from glabrous to pubescent.

The actinomorphic flowers are arranged solitarily in leaf axils. The flowers are subtended by 3 bracts.  The calyx has 5 fused green sepals. The corolla has 5 unfused yellow petals.  There are 5 stamens, each fused to the base of a petal. The ovary is superior with a single locule and many seeds.  The fruit is a capsule at maturity.

Habitat: Turnera ulmifolia grows in human disturbed habitats (roadsides, houses, abandoned fields), dune areas as well as long the edges of Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation – Woodlands/Shrublands.

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Turnera ulmifolia occurs on all island groups in the Bahamian Archipelago as well as Florida, the entire Caribbean region, and tropical and subtropical regions throughout the entire world.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Turnera ulmifolia is used medicinally in the Bahamas to treat gastrointestinal problems (constipation, diarrhea), colds and flu, and circulatory problems (heart palpitations), infant care (gripe), ob/gyn issues (menstrual cramps), and dermatological issues.

Turnera ulmifolia is used in the horticultural trade.


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