Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Family: Compositae
Senecio pterophorus

Citation: DC., Prod. 6:389 (1838).

Synonymy: S. pterophorus DC. var. verus and var. apterus Harvey, Fl. Capens. 3:386 (1865).

Common name: African daisy, South African daisy, winged groundsel.

Erect perennial shrub, 0.8-1.5 m or rarely 3 m tall; stems stout, new growth predominantly distal; leaves coriaceous, lanceolate, 5-8 rarely 12 x 0.7-c. 1.5 rarely 2.5 cm, denticulate or dentate, rarely narrow and entire; basally decurrent, with wings usually conspicuous, reduced towards the inflorescence.

Inflorescence a terminal corymbose panicle of 40-200 radiate capitula on slender peduncles 10-25 mm long; involucre campanulate, 4.5-6 x 4-4.5 mm, sparsely cobwebby basally; bracts 18-22; calyculus of 12-18 lanceolate appressed bracteoles 1.5-3 mm long; ray florets 9-13; ligules 4-7 x 2-3 mm; disk florets 40-95.

Achenes cylindrical, 1.5-1.7 x c. 0.5 mm, red- or dark-brown, sparsely minutely white-haired; pappus deciduous, dimorphic.

Published illustration: Lamp & Collet (1979) Field guide to weeds in Australia, p. 287.

Distribution:  Most frequent in disturbed areas such as roadsides and agricultural land.

S.Aust.: EP, NL, MU, YP, SL, KI, SE.   Formerly Vic.   Native of Cape Province, South Africa.

Conservation status: native

Flowering time: Nov. — March.

SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: A noxious weed, spreading aggressively in burnt areas.

Taxonomic notes: Harvey described var. verus and var. apterus in his treatment of S. pterophorus; the latter variety with wings of the stem obsolete or none. S. pterophorus var. verus is illegitimate as it contains the type of the species. The present authors do not consider var. apterus sufficiently distinct to warrant taxonomic recognition as the character of the wings on the stem may vary on the same plant. S. pterophorus forms F1 hybrids with at least 3 species native to Australia-S. hypoleucus, S. glomeratus and S. picridioides. S. pterophorus has a chromosome number of 2n = 20, while the 3 native species have 2n = 60. The hybrids are therefore quite sterile, with white or light-brown shrivelled achenes. Vegetatively the hybrids are intermediate between S. pterophorus and the respective native parent. The inflorescences are also intermediate and distinct on characters of the ligules. They are commonly 0.8-5 mm long, often nearly as broad, and usually deeply lobed apically. Hybrids involving S. hypoleucus occur in the Mount Lofty Ranges, while those involving S. glomeratus and S. picridioides have been found in the southern regions of Eyre Peninsula.

Author: Not yet available

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