Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Erechtites valerianifolius (Link ex Spreng.) DC. f. valerianifolius

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

Belcher, R.O. (1956) Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 43: 26.

Common name

Brazilian Fireweed; Federal Weed


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1.5-2 m tall but occasionally flowers as a herb.


Leaf blades usually deeply lobed, rather variable in size, about 3-20 x 2-8 cm, midrib and veins pale. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in white hairs. Stem and twigs longitudinally ribbed and hairy. Petiole grooved on the upper surface.


Flowers borne in heads about 3 mm diam., subtended by about 12-15 linear bracts. Flowers in the middle of the head are hermaphrodite while those towards the margins are female. Calyx consists of a ring of hairs (pappus). Pollen white. Stigma bilobed.


Fruits about 3 x 1 mm, longitudinally ribbed, pappus about 7-8 mm long. Embryo about 2 x 0.5 mm, cotyledons about as wide as the radicle.


Cotyledons about 7-10 x 6-8 mm. First pair of leaves with toothed margins. Stem hairy above the cotyledons. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves simple and coarsely toothed. Apex acute, base attenuate, both the upper and lower surfaces sparsely clothed in pale multicellular hairs. Seed germination time 10 to 12 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from South America, now naturalised in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as coastal central New South Wales. Altitudinal range in NEQ from near sea level to 1000 m. Usually grows as a weed of agricultural land but also found in disturbed areas and along roads in lowland, upland and mountain rain forests.


Erechtites valerianifolius (Link ex Spreng.) DC.Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis 6: 295 (1838).  Senecio valerianifolius Link ex Spreng., Systema Vegetabilium Edn. 16, 3: 565 (1826).

RFK Code
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