Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Cyanthillium cinereum (L.) H.Rob.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers and buds. © CSIRO
Flowers and buds. © CSIRO
Flowers and buds. © CSIRO
Habit, leaves, flowers and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Robinson, H.E. (1990) Proceedings Biological Society Washington 103: 252.

Common name



Usually flowers and fruits as a herb but occasionally flowers as a shrub about 1 m tall.


Stems, twigs, petioles and leaves densely clothed in white woolly hairs. Leaf blades about 2.5-4.5 x 1.5-3 cm, tapering very gradually into the petiole, petioles about 0.3-0.5 cm long. Leafy stems longitudinally ribbed and clothed in pale medifixed hairs.


Inflorescence a panicle or cyme of heads. Heads surrounded by several rows of green, hairy bracts. All flowers, 20-30, in each head hermaphroditic. Flowers about 5 mm long. Calyx reduced to a pappus (about 30 bristles, each about 3 mm long) each bristle microscopically barbed. Corolla tube about 4 mm long. Anthers fused, filaments free. Pollen white. Ovary hairy. Stigma 2-armed.


Achene hairy, about 1.5-2 mm long, pappus about 4 mm long, persistent at the apex. Bristles of pappus microscopically barbed. Embryo about 1 mm long.


Cotyledons broadly ovate to elliptic, about 4-6 x 4-5 mm. Stem above the cotyledons and both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blades clothed in bifid hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf margins toothed and undulate. Plant densely clothed in long white hairs, upper surface of the leaf blade more sparsely clothed than the lower surface. Seed germination time 8 to 33 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 1000 m. Usually grows in open forest but sometimes found in monsoon forest and vine thickets. Also occurs in Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Natural History & Notes

Several varieties occur in the region, refer to Flora of Australia vol. 37: 183-187 (2015).

This species may have some medicinal uses.

Vernonia cinerea (L.) Less., Linnaea 4 : 291(1829). Conyza cinerea L., Species Plantarum : 862(1753).
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