Oplonia spinosa

Oplonia spinosa (Jacq.) Raf.

Common Names: Prickly Bush, Prickle Bush

Family: Acanthaceae

Habit: Oplonia spinosa grows as a thin, twining shrub over 3 m in height typically trailing over other vegetation. The stem is less than 1 cm in diameter and has recurved spines below the oppositely arranged leaves. The leaves are up to 2.5 cm in length, oblong/ovoid to oblanceolate in shape with an acute leaf apex and an entire margin.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged solitarily in leaf axils.  The calyx has 5 greenish sepals that are slightly fused at their base.  The corolla has 5 fused purplish pink petals in 2 sets (2 upper petals and 3 lower petals).  There are 2 stamens and 2 staminodia fused to the mouth of the corolla tube.  The superior ovary has 2 locules and numerous ovules. The fruit is a capsule at maturity.

Habitat: Oplonia spinosa grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations-Forest/Woodland/Shrublands (coppice).

Distribution: Oplonia spinosa occurs on all island groupings within the Lucayan Archipelago as well as the Greater Antilles.

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