Also Known As
Salt Marsh Fleabane
Shrubby Camphorweed 
Sweet-Scented Fleabane [2]
Ciguapate [10]
"Bitter Tobacco is a local name for both Pluchea odorata and Pluchea purpurascens.
Riverside Tobacco refers to Pluchea odorata." [9]
“In Mexico, the Aztecs knew these plants and used them.  Both P. carolinensis and P. odorata were known as:
Ciguapatle, as well as
Siguapote, a name derived from cigua.man, patl, medicine [Nahuatl, Mexico to El Salvador]." [2]
"To the Mayas, both plants were:
Chal-Che, as well as...
Ix chal-che
Caol-ca] [wash quickly, Maya, Yucatan, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua].  That name is an allusion to medicinal use before, during, and after childbirth, much as in the Nahuatl names.”  [2]
Pusa Pain
Pluchea odorata var, odorata [11]
Pluchea purpurascens [11]
Pluchea symphytifolia [2]
Flor de Angel [angel flower] and 
Flor de Guadalupe [Guadalupe’s flower], applied to only P. odorata, and... 
Hierba de Santa Maria [Saint Mary’s Herb, Mexico. Nuevo Leon], given to P. carolinensis and P. odorata.” – Florida Ethnobotany. 

Order:   Asterales
Family:   Asteraceae
Genus:    Pluchea
Species: odorata

Florida n c s

Edible Parts
Leaf Caution
Animal Interaction
Bee Insect Butterfly Moth No
Other Uses
Mug Medicinal Fragrant
This is one our most common wild Pluchea species found in most counties of Florida, usually near fresh or saltwater. The leaves of this particular species have distinct petioles [leaf stalks], as does Pluchea camphorata [of Pasco county and northward]. Try crushing some of the fresh leaves between your fingers, and breathe in the very strong, spicy, camphor-like, musky-sweet scent. It's an unusual scent, pleasant to most, myself included. This native perennial wildflower attracts many pollinators to its showy, slightly fragrant flowers such as butterflies, flies, and wasps, and especially bees. Try the leaf tea sparingly, and read the caution that I have written below. Personally, I like the scent, but don't really like the flavor of the tea.

CAUTION: “It is contraindicated for people who get migraines, during pregnancy, and should be used in moderation.” [1] 

MEDICINAL USES: See caution below. Backyard Nature Blog writes, “Mainly it's used as a vaginal wash for various female problems, and for washing up after childbirth. Other uses include being taking for headaches, inflamed gums, lung ailments, earaches. Moreover, a 2011 paper by S. Bauer and others found that extracts of Salt-marsh Fleabane "disturb cancer cell cycle progression," thus warrant further study in the fight against cancer. A 2012 paper by M. Seelinger and others found support for the belief that extracts of the plant speed up healing and might hinder tumor formation.” “In some parts of the Caribbean, Sweetscent is a widely consumed medicinal herbal tea. The hot tea made from the leaves is a stimulant. It stimulates perspiration, in the manner of pleurisy root or pennyroyal, and is diuretic. It is a safe and reliable menstrual stimulant when flow begins late, is scanty, and there are clotty cramps. Moreover, it is antispasmodic, thus relieving cramping. It similarly inhibits spasms and cramps from diarrhea and stomach ache. Used as an eyewash it reduces redness and pain from hay fever, wind and dust. Tea concentrate has been marketed as a coffee substitute. Unlike coffee which is a vasoconstrictor, sweetscent tea is a vasodilator.” [1] Florida Ethnobotany writes, ““In Florida, this discussion focuses on P. carolinensis and P. odorata.  It is often difficult to sort out uses.  Since both species have mostly the same applications, exact identity is not critical.”
- AS PART OF POSTPARTUM CARE: “To lower and heat the milk in the breasts and calm pains, give bath of hot water with Ciguapate [Plucheaodorata], Siquinai [Vernonia sp.], Guaruma [Cecropiapalmata], and Santa Maria [Piper sp.] on third and eigth days after the birth.” [10]
- MEDICINAL STUDIES: Backyard Nature blog writes, "A 2011 paper by S Bauer and others found that extracts of Salt-marsh Fleabane "disturb cancer cell cycle progression," thus warrant further study in the fight against cancer. A 2012 paper by M. Seelinger and others found support for the belief that extracts of the plant speed up healing and might hinder tumor formation." [8]
TO REPEL FLEAS:  Some common names “suggest they have been used to repel fleas.” [2] "The fragrant dried leaves have been used as an insect repellant." [6] 
WILDLIFE: "The sweet scent of the flowers, and the abundant nectar, attract a wide range of insects." [6] “Attracts bees, wasps, and butterflies.” [4] “Especially bees.” [5]
POTPOURRI: "They would make a good addition to old-fashioned sachets." [6]
DRIED ARRANGEMENTS: "Dried flowers are also attractive in floral arrangements." [6,7] 

NATIVE TO: The southern US, Mexico, the Caribbean, south to Central America and northern South America. In Florida, it occurs in most counties, being less common in northern counties.
DECSRIPTION: A flowering herbaceous annual or short-lived perennial 2-4’ tall, sometimes to 6’.
- STEMS: Rough.
- LEAVES: Oval, soft, toothed, 2-6” long, alternate, rough, covered with trichomes [hairs], being strongly aromatic. Musky-sweet scent when crushed. [8] 
- INFLORESCENCE / FLOWERS: Inflorescence contains many flowerheads, each less than 0.4” long, contain many bright pinkish-purple flowers, lacking ray flowers yet showy, appearing summer to fall. Flowers "fragrant." [7]
- FRUIT: “The fruit is a tiny achene tipped with a bristly pappus.” [1] "The fruits are released into the wind." [8]
- NOTE: One distinguishing feature of this particular species: “Lateral flowering branches longer than the terminal ones.”
HABITAT: Wetlands, often in saline substrates. "Salt and freshwater swamps and marshes." "Tidal marshes to the edges of wet ditches and hardwood hammocks." [5] "Coastal habitats and inland wetlands" [8]
CULTURE: It "does very well in local clay soils." [6]
- FLOODING: "This plant can also take the seasonal flooding." [6]
- CONTAINERS: "Sweetscent does fine in a large container." [6]
PROPAGATION: Dr. Craig Huegel writes, in his very informative Hawthorne Hill Wildflowers blog, "It would be easy to propagate, however, from the wispy seed heads in fall. Just make sure you can give it the moisture it requires - either salt or fresh." [5] "Sweetscent is easy to start from fresh seed." [6] 

More Details

Flowering Calendar

Flower Color

Aquatic Coastal Ditches / Tidal Marshes

Plant Form
Herbaceous Annual Herb
5 feet
2 feet
Root type
Ease of growth
Shade Part Sun Full Sun
Sandy Clay
Salt Tolerant Flood Tolerant
2 feet

Sources for acquiring

Some native plants occasionally offer this species as potted plants. 


[9] Dictionary of Jamaican English. 
[2] Florida Ethnobotany by Daniel Austin. 
[4] fnps.org [Florida Native Plant Society]. 
[5] Hawthorne Hill Wildflowers. 
[10] Midwives and Mothers: The Medicalization of Childbirth on a Guatemalan Plantation. 
[6] Mother Nature's Backyard blog. 
[11] theplantlist.org. 
[1] Wikipedia. 
[7] wildflower.org. 
Last Updated: October 28, 2017

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