Labill., Nov. Holl. Pl. Sp. 2:48, t. 194 (1806).
Synonymy: Erechtites quadridentata
Common name: Cotton fireweed, fireweed.
Erect or ascending perennial herb, 40-100 cm high, white-cottony throughout or distally glabrescent, much-branched from the base, 40-100 cm high; leaves linear to narrowly lanceolate, 5-10 rarely 15 x0.4-1.5 cm, acute, often denticulate but usually strongly revolute and appearing entire, occasionally with one or more exserted coarse teeth near the base, densely cottony-haired beneath, more sparsely hairy above, or occasionally glabresent.
Inflorescence initially congested, becoming laxly corymbose-paniculate, of 60-400 heads; peduncles 7-14 mm long; involucres slenderly cylindrical, 7.5-10 x 2-3 mm, flask-shaped and often spiralled in bud; bracts 10-13; calyculus of 1-4 bracteoles; female florets 20-30, 3- or 4-lobed; bisexual florets 4-10, 4- or rarely 5-lobed.
Achene tapering and slightly knobby basally, attenuate-rostrate apically, 2.5-3 rarely 4 mm long, olive-green, reddish, or dark-brown, hairy in the narrow grooves between the prominent ribs; pappus deciduous, dimorphic.
Cunningham et al. (1982) Plants of western New South Wales, p. 679.
In disturbed situations in grasslands, shrublands, and open woodlands, especially after fire, not persisting in closed forests except along the roadsides; found on a great diversity of soils.
S.Aust.: LE, FR, EA, EP, NL, MU, YP, SL, KI, SE. All States. New Zealand, New Caledonia and Timor.
Flowering time: Oct. — March.
SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia
The most common and widely distributed of the erechthitoid species. May become a weed, especially in pastures, and is regarded as toxic to livestock although not usually eaten.
Positively distinguished from S. tenuiflorus by characters of the achenes and by the involucral bracts typically each with 3 prominent veins and 1-4 minor ones (visible only after use of a clearing agent such as lactic acid).
Not yet available