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Scaevola taccada (Gaertn.) Roxb.
by Gary W. Theseira

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Scaevola taccada (Gaertn.) Roxb.

by Gary W. Theseira

Scaevola taccada is a member of the Goodeniaceae family, comprising about 10 genera, most of which are Australian. Scaevola is the sole pan-tropic genus, ranging west to India, Pakistan and Madagascar and east to Micronesia, Melanesia and Hawaii. Specimens brought to the US mainland from Hawaii as ornamentals have escaped and this species is now classified there as an exotic invasive. This large shrub has smooth, shiny leaves of a pleasant light green colour and attractive ‘half flowers’ (flowers with a dorsally split corolla tube) that are white with brownish red stripes. Fruits develop from the green calyx and ripen to a creamy, white drupe. This shrub inhabits areas of high salinity and can be found primarily in sandy, sometimes in partially rocky or muddy, shorelines and coastal dune soils, sometimes right down to the high tide mark. It is used medicinally in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands and has ornamental potential.

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