Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ludwigia octovalvis (Jacq.) P.H.Raven

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

Raven, P.H. (1962) Kew Bulletin 15: 476.

Common name

Primrose, Willow; Primrose, Water; Willow Primrose; Water Primrose


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub 1-2 m tall.


Leaf blades about 1-15 cm long. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blades clothed in long, pale coloured hairs. Twigs longitudinally grooved and clothed in pale coloured hairs. Some leaf oil dots elongated and +/- comet-shaped, the remainder +/- orbicular. Oil dots may only become obvious when the leaves are dry or partly dry.


Sepals obovate to narrowly obovate. Petals about 10-20 mm long. Outer surface of the calyx tube clothed in long white hairs. Stamens eight, the filaments alternating with the petals are glabrous, while those opposite the petals have hairs at the base. Stigma round, shiny and sticky, sitting in the end of the style like an egg in an egg cup.


Capsules about 2-4.5 cm long, splitting into eight linear lobes at maturity. Sepals persistent at the apex of the fruit. Seeds very small, about 0.6-0.75 x 0.5-0.7 mm, each consisting of two compartments, one containing the embryo and the other containing a sac of air. Embryo small, endosperm scanty.


Cotyledons +/- orbicular, about 7 x 7 mm, petioles long, approximating the length of the cotyledons. First pair of leaves often with ciliate margins. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade +/- oblanceolate, apex acute, base attenuate. Stipules small, less than 1 mm long, pink in colour and easily seen. Terminal buds and young shoots clothed in long white, erect hairs. Stems longitudinally ribbed or angled. Seed germination time 9 to 12 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 800 m. Grows in swampy situations in open forest but occasionally found in similar situations in rain forest, vine forest and similar vegetation types. Also occurs in tropical regions in the rest of the world.

Natural History & Notes

This species has been used medicinally in the Pacific islands. Cribb (1981).

Ludwigia octovalvis (Jacq.) P.H.Raven subsp. octovalvis, Reinwardtia 6: 357(1962). Oenothera octovalvis Jacq., Enum. Syst. Pl. : 19(1760), Type: West Indies, Jacquin; holo: ? Fide P. H. Raven, Reinwardtiana 6: 356 (1963). Jussiaea suffruticosa L., Species Plantarum 1: 388(1753), Type: India, holo: lost. Fide Raven (1962). Jussiaea suffruticosa var. villosa F.M.Bailey, A Synopsis of the Queensland Flora : 197(1883), Type: Common throughout Queensland. Jussiaea suffruticosa var. villosa (Lam.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 1: 251(1891). Jussiaea suffruticosa var. octofila (DC.) H.Lev., Le Monde des Plantes 3 : 278(1894). Jussiaea suffruticosa var. angustifolia (Lam.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 1: 251(1891), Type: Probably from the Moluccas; neo: P-LA. Fide W.H. Harvey in Harvey & Sonder (1894) Fl. Cap. 2: 504. Ludwigia octovalvis subsp. sessiliflora (Micheli) P.H.Raven, Kew Bulletin 15: 476(1962). Jussiaea villosa Lam., Encyclopedie Methodique. Botanique : 331(1789), Type: Cette Jussie cro~Zt naturellement dans lInde. (v.s.). [Trinidad, collector unknown. Fide Raven (1990)].
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