Wooley Booger

Corchorus hirsutus
Common Names: Wooly Booger, Jack Switch

Family: Tiliaceae

Habit: Corchorus hirsutus grows as a small to medium shrub up to 2 m in height. The leaves are arranged alternately, to 8 cm in length and 3 cm in width, ovate to oblong with a crenate/serrulate leaf margin and a rounded leaf apex. All vegetative structures are densely tomentose.

The actinomorphic flowers are arranged in umbels arising from nodes. The calyx has 5 unfused greenish sepals. The corolla has 5 unfused bright yellow petals. There are numerous stamens. The ovary is superior with 5 locules and numerous seeds. The fruit is a twisted capsule. All reproductive structures excluding the corolla and stamens are densely tomentose.

Habitat: Corchorus hirsutus grows in human disturbed areas such as abandoned fields and roadsides. It also grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation – Shrublands (scrublands) on limestone and sand substrates near the coastline.

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Corchorus hirsutus occurs on all island groups in the Bahamian Archipelago as well as the entire Caribbean region and tropical and subtropical New World. It is also occurs in parts of tropical east Africa.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Corchorus hirsutus is used in the Bahamas to treat colds and flu. The leaves are edible after cooking.