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Turnera subulata

Family Name: Turneraceae
Common Name: White Alder, Sulphur Alder, Dark-eyed Turnera, White Buttercup, Politician's Flower
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Bee Attracting Plants Butterfly Food Plant Ornamental Flowers Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Maximum Height 0.3 m to 0.8 m


Native Distribution Tropical America
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial herb with erect stems up to 0.8 m tall.
Foliage Lanceolate leaves have a toothed leaf margin. There is a pair of round, greenish to yellowish glands at the base of the leaf blade on either side of the petiole. Venation is prominent with the leaf blade slightly bulging between veins. The leaf surface is covered in short, white hairs.
Flowers Large, dark-eyed flowers are composed of 5 obovate petals which are cream-coloured and yellow at the base or solid yellow. There are 2 flower forms: 1) thrum flowers where the stamens (male, pollen-producing part) are taller than the styles (female, egg-bearing parts) and 2) pin flowers where the stamens are shorter than the styles. Flowers cannot self-pollinate, requiring pollen from another flower to produce seeds.
Similar This species is similar to Turnera ulmifolia, but it has a dark eye, while T. ulmifolia does not.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Food Plant, Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee), Insects (Ant, Beetle, Fly, Thrip, Wasp))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Spiral
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden, Black, Cream / Off-White
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Funnelform / Funnel-shaped
Flower Size - Width 5 cm
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Opening Time Daytime
Flowering Habit Polycarpic
Flowering Opening Time Remarks Flowers open in the morning at about 8AM and close by noon.



Swamy, N. R. & Bahadur B.. 1984. Pollen Flow in Dimorphic Turnera subulata. New Phytologist. 98. 1. 205-209

Image Repository



Master ID 1241
Species ID 2534
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 16 June 2021.