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Thursday, 22 September 2022

FFF561 - TURNERA

Turnera subulata is a species of flowering plant in the Passifloraceae family known by the common names white buttercup, sulphur alder, politician's flower, dark-eyed turnera, and white alder. Despite its names, it is not related to the buttercups or the alders. It is native to Central and South America, from Panama south to Brazil. It is well known in many other places as an introduced species, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, several other Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, and Florida in the United States. It is commonly cultivated as a garden flower.

This plant is a perennial herb growing from a thick taproot and woody stem base. It reaches a maximum height around 80 cm. The leaves are roughly oval in shape with toothed edges. The undersides are glandular and coated in white hairs. The upper surfaces may be somewhat hairy, as well. The leaves are up to 9 cm long. Flowers occur in the leaf axils, borne in calyces of hairy, glandular sepals. The petals are rounded to oval, the longest exceeding 3 cm. They are white or yellowish with darker bases. The dark patches at the bases are nectar guides. The centre of the flower is rough, said to feel like a cat's tongue.

The fruit is a hairy capsule containing seeds with white arils. The seeds are dispersed by ants, who are likely attracted to their high lipid content. This plant has uses in traditional medicine. It is used for skin, gastrointestinal, and respiratory ailments. In Brazil, the plant is made into cough syrup, and the roots are said to be good for dysmenorrhea. Laboratory tests showed it has some inhibitory activity against various fungi, such as Candida glabrata, Aspergillus flavus, A. niger, A. fumigatus, Penicillium chrysogenum, and Candida albicans.

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