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Wedelia is a member of the Aster family, native to northern South America and common in subtropical climates around the world. Widely introduced as a ground cover, in some places it's become an invasive pest. Its stems branch, creeping across the ground, dropping roots at each node to quickly cover available space. The daisy-like flowers create an overall effect of a yellow-dotted blanket of green, giving rise to one of its common names, "yellow dots." This is one tough aster: It grows in many different soils and bog-like conditions, and tolerates drought and salt spray. The scientific name "wedelia" seems to commemorate the work of 18th-century German botanist/physician George W. Wedel, who studied the medicinal values of plants. Wedelia has long been used in folk medicine for treatment of hepatitis and other infections, and to clear the placenta after birth. In South Florida it blooms year-round.

-Jerome A. Jackson, Florida Gulf Coast University

 

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