Astraea lobata

Astraea lobata (L.) Klotzch

Synonym: Croton lobatus

Common Names: Lobed Croton

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Habit: Astraea lobata grows as an annual to 1 m in height. Young stems are stellate pubescent. The leaves are arranged alternately and 3 – 5 lobed. The lobes to 6 cm in length, oblanceolate, crenate leaf margin, and an acuminate leaf apex.

Astraea lobata is monoecious. The incomplete, imperfect, actinomorphic, flowers are arranged in axillary or terminal racemes with carpellate flowers at the base and staminate flowers at the apex. Staminate flowers have 5, unfused, green, ciliate, sepals in the calyx and 5 petals.  There are 10 – 13 stamens and no carpel.  The carpellate flowers have 5, unfused, glandular, sepals in the calyx. The corolla is reduced to a hair and there are no stamens. The superior ovary has 3 locules. The fruit is a 3 – lobed, pubescent capsule.

Habitat: Astraea lobata grows in Human Altered environments (yards, waste areas, abandoned fields, nurseries).

Distribution: Astraea lobata is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but occurs in the northern island groupings in as well as the Caribbean region.  It is native to Mexico, Central and South America and Africa. It has spread to Florida and the Indian subcontinent.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Astraea lobata is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

It is widely used in Africa to treat dermatological problems, pain, gynecological issues, ophthalmological treatments, as an aphrodisiac, and has been used for poison arrows.

In general it is considered poisonous!