Melanthera nivea

Melanthera nivea (L.) Small

Synonym: Melanthera apsera

Family: Asteraceae

Habit: Melanthera nivea grows as a woody herb up to 2 meters in height although it typically grows trailing.  The vegetation has appressed hairs.  The leaves are arranged oppositely and are up to 10 cm long.  The blade is ovate to dentate in shape with a crenate margin and an acute leaf apex.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in heads with up to 25 flowers. The flowers are subtended by 3 series of greenish phyllaries. The calyx is modified into pappus with 4 hair like units.  The corolla has 5 white petals that are fused into a tube.  There are 5 stamens fused to the base of the corolla.  The ovary is inferior with nectaries at the base of the style.  At maturity the fruit is an achene.

Habitat: Melanthera nivea grows in Human Altered environments and sand substrate environments near the shoreline.

Distribution: Melanthera nivea occurs throughout all islands in the Lucayan Archipelago as well as the southern United Sates, the Caribbean and Central America.

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