Marjej OR Markūbwebwe (Wollastonia biflora syn. Wedelia biflora - Asteraceae)

Description: This large native yellow-flowered herb in the sunflower family (Asteraceae) grows to heights of 1.5 m (5 ft). Slightly woody at its base, this bushy herb or trailing, vine-like plant produces leaves 6-15 cm (2-6 in) long with prominent veins and toothed margins (edges). The yellowish flowerheads are clusters of tiny flowers characteristic of its plant family. It is known as marjej in the ratak chain, and as markūbwebwe ("bush or vine covered with feces") in the rālik chain.

Distribution: Marjej is found from tropical Asia to Eastern Polynesia and Micronesia. It grows near the shore on high islands and in many places on atolls, especially along rocky shores where it can be the dominant species. It also can become a very common weed on coconut plantations.

Uses: Flowers of marjej are said to be used as a "psychic energizer." Steam from the heated small fruits of marjej has been used as a medicine for illness of the groin. As a curing agent, leaves of this plant are also heated and applied to areas affected by skin fungus. For victims of sorcery, three healthy buds of the plant that are point eastward should picked and rubbed between the fingers, mixed with cooked coconut oil (pinneep), and applied to the body. In addition, stripped branches are used as a bait for crabs; one inserts the branch into a crab hole and catches the crab when it chases the bait out of the hole.

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