Chiococca alba

Chiococca alba (L.) Hitch.

Common Names: Snow Berry, Snake Root, Pissabed, Rat Root

Family: Rubiaceae

Habit: Chiococca alba grows as a trailing, sometimes climbing, shrub to 3 meters in height.  The leaves are arranged alternately, ovate to lanceolate, to 12 cm in length, with an acute leaf apex and an entire margin. The stipules are small and lance-shaped.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in panicles.  The calyx has 5 unfused sepals.  The corolla has 5 fused, yellow/white petals.  There are 5 stamens.  The ovary is inferior with 2 locules.  The fruit is a berry that is white at maturity.

Habitat: Chiococca alba grows as an understory shrub in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation- Forest/Woodland/Shrubland/Dwarf Shrublands (all coppice types).

Distribution: Chiococca alba occurs on all island groupings in the Lucayan Archipelago as well as the southern United States, the Caribbean region and Central and South America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Chiococca alba is used in the Lucayan Archipelago for general strengthening teas, and to treat bed wetting, and tuberculosis.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean it is used for strengthening teas, gastrointestinal issues (gas, indigestion), pain (menstrual cramps, rheumatism), and dermatological problems (acne).