Tithonia diversifolia

Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl.) A. Gray

Common Names: Mexican Sunflower, Tree Marigold

Family: Asteraceae

Habit: Tithonia diversifolia a woody perennial shrub to 5 m in height with slightly pubescent stems. The leaves are arranged oppositely, to 15 cm in length, ovate to deltoid, often 3 to 5 lobed, with a crennate leaf margin and an acute leaf apex.

The complete and incomplete, perfect and imperfect, actinomorphic and zygomorphic flowers are arranged in heads. The heads are subtended by a series of involucral bracts. The calyx is modified as a ring of hairs (pappus).  The perfect flowers are in the center and the imperfect flowers are arranged around the edge of the heads. Each flower is subtended by a bract.

The imperfect flowers have 3 yellow fused petals and no stamens. The perfect flowers have a corolla with 5 fused, yellow petals.  There are 5 stamens fused at their base. In both types of flowers, the ovary is inferior with a single locule but only the perfect flowers have functional ovules.  The fruit is a pubescent achene at maturity that retains the modified calyx (pappus) as awns.

Habitat: Tithonia diversifolia in Human Altered environments (yards and gardens).

Distribution: Tithonia diversifolia is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago. It is native to Mexico and Central America but is now spread throughout the subtropical and tropical regions of the world.

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

It is used in the horticultural industry.