Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Cyathula prostrata (L.) Blume

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Leaves and flowers. CC-BY Australian Tropical Herbarium
Leaves and flowers. CC-BY Australian Tropical Herbarium
Flowers. CC-BY Australian Tropical Herbarium
Herbarium specimen. © DERM

Blume, C.L. von (1827) Bijdragen tot de Flora van Nederlandsch Indie 14: 549.

Common name

Purple Princess


Herbs 30-60 cm tall with prostrate or erect stems, tinged red, obtusely quadrangular, branched and inflated at nodes.


Petioles 5-15 mm long. Leaf blades 30-70 x 13-35 mm, underside clothed in small hairs which are visible with a lens. Young leaves covered in dense long hairs.


Flowers subtended by and enclosed in two bracts. Groups of hooked hairs attached between the basal bracts and the tepals. Tepals about 2 x 1 mm, margins fringed with long hairs. Stamens 5, attached to a cup-shaped disk surrounding the ovary. Anthers wider than long. Ovary about 1 mm diam. Ovule basal, attached by a long stalk. Stigma terminal, capitate.


Fruits 3-3.5 mm diam. (including the persistent tepals and hooks), falling with the persistent tepals and surrounded by tree-like structures complete with hooks. Seeds smooth, about 2 mm diam. Embryo curved, about 2.5 mm long.


Cotyledons coiled, wider than the radicle.

Distribution and Ecology

Distributed in NT, CYP and NEQ. Occurs in the understory of deciduous to evergreen vine thickets, vine forest, closed forest and Monsoonal thicket, growing mostly on loamy and sandy soils.

Achyranthes prostrata L., Species Plantarum Edn. 2, 1: 296(1762), Type: Habitat in India.
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