Stemodia maritima

Stemodia maritima L.

Common Names: Obeah bush

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Habit: Stemodia maritima grows as a perennial herb becoming slightly woody at its base. Vegetative and reproductive parts covered with pubescence and glands.  The leaves are arranged oppositely, sessile, and to 3 cm in length.  The leaf is lanceolate with an acute apex and serrate margin.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are solitary in leaf axils with 2 subtending bracts. There are 5 unfused green sepals in the calyx.  There are 5 fused, light purple to blue petals in the corolla.  There are 4 stamens.  The ovary is superior with 2 locules and numerous seeds.  The fruit is a capsule.

Habitat: Stemodia maritima grows in wet areas around continual and ephemeral Fresh Water Wetlands, in coastal areas, Sabal palmetto woodlands, and in Human Altered environments (roadsides and abandoned fields).

Distribution: Stemodia maritima occurs on all islands groups with the Lucayan Archipelago except the Turks and Caicos.  It also occurs throughout the Caribbean region and in the northern portions of South America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Stemodia maritima is known to be used in the Lucayan Archipelago to treat colds, dermatological issues, gastrointestinal pain, general pain, ob/gyn problems, ringworm, as well as sores and wounds.