Petiveria alliacea

Petiveria alliacea L.

Common Names: Obeah Bush, Bad Obeah Bush, Garlic Weed, Guinea Hen

Family: Petiveriaceae

Habit: Petiveria alliacea grows as long-lived perennial to 1 m in height. The leaves are arranged alternately, to 15 cm in length, elliptic to obovate, with an acute/acuminate leaf apex and entire margin. The leaves smell like garlic when crushed.

The incomplete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in axillary and terminal spikes.  The calyx has 4 white unfused, sepals subtended by three bracts. There is no corolla. There are no petals. There are 4 unfused stamens.  The ovary is superior with a single locule.  The fruit is an achene with 6 reflexed bristles at maturity.

Habitat: Petiveria alliacea grows in Human Altered environments (yards, waste areas).

Distribution: Petiveria alliacea is a doubtful native occurring on the northern island groupings within the Lucayan Archipelago as well as the Caribbean region, Central and South America and parts of the southern United States.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Petiveria alliacea is used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago to treat headaches and to prevent Obeah.