Continuing the past month’s theme of plants with intriguing common names, today’s species vernacular names include: ramgoat dashalong, yellow alder, West Indian holly, and sage rose. It is not a true alder, nor holly, nor rose. As for ramgoat dashalong, the name used in the USDA PLANTS database, trying to understand that common name requires wading into anecdotal accounts of how the species can energize male goats for…well, the genus is now placed in the Passifloraceae, the passionflower family. A related species, known commonly as damiana, is often marketed as an aphrodisiac.
Native to Mexico, Central America, and several islands in the West Indies, Turnera ulmifolia can now be found in many tropical parts of the world:
It is widely naturalized in Australia, South America, Indonesia, Malaysia, Madagascar, and Oceania (e.g. Fiji, Hawaii, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, New Caledonia and Palau
In most, if not all of these regions, it is considered an invasive species. Its invasive potential fits the classic profile: tolerant of a wide-range of environmental variables associated with high reproductive potential (it flowers year-round).
Its spread around the globe was first due to traditional medicinal uses and, to a smaller extent, ornamental value. Again from the above link:
Turnera ulmifolia is grown as ornamental for its showy yellow flowers that blossom year-round…Plants are also used as border plants and ground cover…A tea made from leaves of this species is used in traditional medicine in South America and the West Indies to treat gastrointestinal problems (constipation, diarrhea), colds and flu, and circulatory problems (heart palpitations), menstrual spasms, and dermatological issues.