Turnera diffusa | ‘Damiana’ | Dried plant


‘Damiana’ is a truly fascinating perennial shrub – allegedly used to make the first ‘Margarita’ cocktail! 100g dried plant.

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Turnera diffusa | ‘Damiana’ | 100g dried plant

Turnera diffusa (syn. Turnera aphrodisiaca, Turnera humifusa, Turnera microphylla, Turnera pringlei), or ‘Damiana’, is a perennial flowering shrub of the family Passifloraceae. The species is native to parts of the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, South America and the USA. This listing is for the dried plant.

Traditionally, diffusa has been used as an aphrodisiac and as an ingredient in 19th-century patent medicines (for example, the famous ‘Pemberton’s French Wine Coca’) and liqueurs (Mexican legend alleges the plant was used to make the “original” margarita cocktail). Horticulturally, plants sold as Turnera diffusa commonly turn out to be mislabelled Turnera ulmifolia (‘False Damiana’), although – happily – the commercial dried herbal/botanical market as a whole seems unaffected by this gardener’s confusion!

A woody shrub growing to a maximum of roughly a hundred and eighty centimetres tall, Turnera diffusa possesses wonderfully glossy, green to dark green, velvet foliage (the leaves reach up to roughly sixteen millimetres in length by five or six millimetres across) and beautiful, buttercup yellow flowers. These flowers bloom from early summer onward and are highly fragrant (as are the spicily-scented essential oils produced by the plant). ‘Damiana’ also bears small fruits (apparently fig-like in taste) and often plays host to the ‘Mexican Fritillary’ butterfly, Euptoieta hegesia.

Cultivatable in USDA Hardiness Zones 9-11, this species reportedly requires being spaced at least a metre or so apart in full sun to reach its full size and is (reportedly) quite drought tolerant.

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