Plant Listings

Malpighia polytricha

Malpighia polytricha A. Juss.

Common Names:
Touch Me Not, Wild Cherry

Family: Malpighiaceae

Habit: Malpighia polytricha grows as a small to medium shrub up to 3 m in height (typically shorter).  The leaves are arranged oppositely, to 6 cm in length, oblong to oval with a retuse-rounded-acute leaf apex, and an entire or slightly dentate margin. The leaf is pale green with the surfaces covered with disarticulating stinging/irritating trichomes.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in axillary cymes.  At the base of the flower are 3 bracts and 10 sepal glands in pairs.  The calyx has 5 unfused green sepals.  The corolla has 5 unfused, clawed pinkish red petals that are fringed along their outer edge.  There are 10 stamens that are fused at their base and have yellow anthers.  The 3-lobed ovary is superior with 3 locules, numerous seeds, and a curved style.  The fruit is a drupe that turns red at maturity.

Habitat: Malpighia polytricha grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation- Forests/Woodlands/Shrublands (coppice, scrublands).

Malpighia polytricha occurs throughout all island groupings in the Lucayan Archipelago as well as Cuba.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage:
Malpighia polytricha is used in the Lucayan Archipelago in strengthening teas (from the roots) as well as to treat respiratory problems (coughs, tuberculosis), and childhood issues (bed wetting).