Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Emilia sonchifolia (L.) DC. var. sonchifolia

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Flower. © R.L. Barrett
Flower. © R.L. Barrett
Seed. © R.L. Barrett
Seed. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves. © R.L. Barrett
Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Candolle, A.P. de (1838) Prodromus 6: 302.

Common name

Emilia; Red tassel-flower


Annual herb up to 50 cm tall. Sparsely hairy on stems.


Leaf blades rather variable in shape, 20-44 x 25-50 mm, petioles nil or up to 25-35 mm long. Upper stem leaves become lanceolate and auriculate.


Flowers borne in heads which are arranged in open panicles. Each head surrounded by bracts 8-11 mm long. Calyx consists of 40-50 barbed hairs. Each hair about 10 mm long, corolla tubular, 10-13 mm long, corolla lobes 1-1.2 mm long. Anthers 0.8-1 mm long. Stamens fused to form a tube around the style. Ovary 1-1.2 mm long, clothed in ca. erect hairs. Style unbranched, stigmas 2.


Individual fruits about 3 mm long, surface longitudinally 5-ribbed, each rib clothed with bristles, brown or straw-coloured. Pappus white, about 7-8 mm long.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ primarily near the coast. Altitudinal range from 1-940 m. Found in closed forest, riparian vine forest, open Eucalyptus forest and in various types of woodland, grassland and on coastal dunes.

Natural History & Notes

Juice used as a cure for inflamed eyes (Webb 1948).

A second variety, Emilia sonchifolia var. javanica may also be present, see Flora of Australia 37.

Cacalia sonchifolia L., Species Plantarum Edn. 1 2: 835(1753), Type: Habitat in Zeylonia, China.
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