Duranta (Duranta erecta).
Flowers and fruits.
Duranta - Duranta erecta
Duranta erecta is a species of flowering shrub in the verbena family Verbenaceae, native from Mexico to South America and the
Caribbean. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical gardens throughout the
world, and has become naturalized in many places. It is considered an invasive species in
Australia, China, South Africa and on several Pacific Islands. Common names include golden
dewdrop, pigeon berry, and skyflower. In Mexico, the native Nahuatl name for the plant is
xcambocoche. In Tonga it is known as mavaetangi (tears of departure).
Duranta erecta is a sprawling shrub or (infrequently) a small tree. It can grow to 6 m (20
ft) tall and can spread to an equal width. Mature specimens possess axillary
thorns, which are often absent on younger specimens. The leaves are light green, elliptic to
ovate, opposite, and grow up to 7.5 cm (3.0 in) long and 3.5 cm (1.4 in) broad, with a 1.5 cm
petiole. The flowers are light-blue or lavender, produced in tight clusters located on terminal and axillary
stems, blooming almost all year long. The fruit is a small globose yellow or orange
berry, up to 11 mm (0.43 in) diameter and containing several seeds. The leaves and berries of the plant are
toxic, and are confirmed to have killed children, dogs and cats. However, songbirds eat the fruit without ill
The genus name is in honor of Castore Durante, a fifteenth-century Italian
botanist. The specific epithet erecta means "upright" in Latin. The plant is also known as D.
repens, from the Latin for "creeping". The latter name was originally used to identify
smaller-leaved varieties of the species.
Duranta erecta is native to the Americas, from Mexico and the Caribbean south to Brazil and
Argentina. There is some debate about whether the plant is also native to the southern United
States, in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and California, or is an introduced species
there. In its natural state, it commonly grows in rocky or sandy coastal areas with full
sun, or moister, disturbed sites inland. Prior to maturity, the plant will grow at a rate of up to half a meter per
Golden dewdrop is widely grown as an ornamental plant throughout tropical and warm subtropical
regions. Its showy flowers and fruit make it a desirable addition to gardens, and the blossoms attract butterflies and
hummingbirds. There are a wide variety of cultivars available, including 'alba',
'aurea', 'Aussie gold', 'gold mound', 'geisha girl', 'sapphire showers', and 'variegata'.
Duranta is registered as an invasive weed by many councils of Australia. Duranta
(Duranta erecta) is also listed as an important invasive plant in China, where it causes obvious changes in natural
ecosystems, and it is on the list of the most invasive horticultural plants in
The leaves and 'berries' (i.e. drupes) are poisonous to people and
animals, and are reported to have caused numerous deaths in domestic pets dogs, cats, birds) even
children. Symptoms of Duranta poisoning include an upset stomach, drowsiness, nausea, fever, vomiting and convulsions.
Duranta erecta is one of the traditional medicinal
plants. It has been shown to possess antimicrobial, antioxidant, and insecticide
properties. Its phytoconstituents such as alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides,
phenolics, saponins, steroids, tannins, and terpenoids are reported as the basis of its efficacious therapeutic