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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION, CHARACTERIZATION, AND GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF SUBTROPICAL AND TROPICAL ORNAMENTAL GERMPLASM Title: Turnera diffusa 'Luisa', a drought tolerant small shrub for warm climates

Authors
item Meerow, Alan
item Ayala-Silva, Tomas
item Irish, Brian

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 4, 2010
Publication Date: December 8, 2010
Citation: Meerow, A.W., Ayala Silva, T., Irish, B.M. 2010. Turnera diffusa 'Luisa', a drought tolerant small shrub for warm climates. HortScience. 45(12):1895-1896.

Interpretive Summary: Turnera diffusa is a widespread and variable species found throughout tropical America. Commonly known as “damiana,” it has figured extensively in folk medicine. In this paper, we describe a cultivar of T. diffusa with outstanding ornamental qualities selected from a population in Puerto Rico. In 2005, the authors conducted a plant exploration in Puerto Rico for species with ornamental potential. In the coastal mogotes (limestone hills) of southern Penuelas Municipality, we encountered a population of T. diffusa. The population was striking for its small, densely pubescent gray-green leaves that we perceived as more attractive than typical of the species elsewhere across its broad range. One individual in the population appeared particularly compact. Cuttings of this individual were collected and placed on a mist propagation facility at the USDA-ARS Tropical Agricultural Research Station (TARS) in Mayaguez. Once rooted, these were shipped to the National Germplasm Repository in Miami (SHRS) where we have propagated and evaluated the plant for the past five years.

Technical Abstract: Turnera diffusa is a widespread and variable species found throughout tropical America. Commonly known as “damiana,” it has figured extensively in folk medicine. In this paper, we describe a cultivar of T. diffusa with outstanding ornamental qualities selected from a population in Puerto Rico. The form has attractive gray-green leaves, compact habit, and flowers for most of the year. It is easily propagated and can be used in the landscape as a ground cover, edging or bedding plant.

Last Modified: 10/19/2014
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