Plant Listings

Spathelia bahamensis

Common Names:  Bahama Spathelia

Family: Rutaceae

Habit: Spathelia bahamensis grows as a shrub to small tree up to 5 meters in height.  The pinnately compound leaves are arranged alternately, clustered at the ends of branches, and are up 35 cm in length. The leaflets occur in 12-24 pairs that are alternate or subopposite, to 5 cm in length with an acuminate leaf tip and crenate to serrate leaf margin with glandular teeth.

The actinomorphic, monoecious flowers are arranged in terminal panicles. The calyx has 5 unfused, green sepals. The corolla has 5 unfused, white petals.  Staminate flowers have 5 stamens and a nonfunctional superior carpel.  Carpellate flowers have 5 nonfunctional stamens and a superior ovary with three locules. The fruit is a 3 winged samara at maturity.

Habitat: Spathelia bahamensis grows as an understory shrub in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations – Shrublands (coppice/scrubland) primarily with a limestone substrate but occasionally in a sand substrate.

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Spathelia bahamensis is known in the Bahamas from Cat Island and Eleuthera as well as from Cuba.  It is a Caribbean endemic.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Spathelia bahamensis is not used medicinally in the Bahamas.