Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Triumfetta rhomboidea Jacq.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower/. © Barry Jago
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit [not vouchered]. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Jacquin, N.J. von (1760) Enumeratio Systematica Plantarum .. Caribaeis : 22. Type: West Indies.

Common name

Burr, Paroquet; Chinese Burr; Burr, Chinese; Paroquet Burr


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall but also flowers when smaller.


Leaf blades about 4-11 x 1.5-9 cm, margins frequently lobed. Stellate hairs present on both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade but much more numerous on the lower surface. Stipules linear to narrowly triangular, clothed in simple hairs. Leaves emit a strong odour when crushed. Twig bark strong and fibrous when stripped.


Flowers often in 3-flowered umbels or umbel-like clusters. Sepals about 5-6 mm long, concave and apiculate at the apex. Petals about 4-6 mm long. Petals expanded below the apiculate apex. Each expanded section +/- encloses a group of three anthers. Stamens 15. Ovary densely clothed in pale +/- prostrate hairs or trichomes. Stigmas three, quite small.


Fruits plus spines about 6 mm diam., each spine 2-3 mm long with a microscopic hook at the end which allows the fruits to adhere to clothes or animal fur and thus enhance distribution. Seed +/- tear-shaped, pointed apex often black. Cotyledons green, endosperm white.


Cotyledons orbicular, about 11-13 x 10-12 mm, margin finely ciliate, petioles about 10 mm long. First pair of leaves alternate, margins toothed, stellate hairs present on both the upper and lower surfaces, particularly the lower surface. At the tenth leaf stage: stem, petiole and both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in stellate hairs. Stipules filiform or narrowly triangular, about 3-5 mm long. Stem bark strong and fibrous when stripped. Seed germination time 8 to 43 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced pantropic weed of uncertain origin now naturalised in NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 800 m. Grows on agricultural land and in disturbed areas particularly road sides in lowland and upland rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

Food plant for the larval stages of the Peacock Jewel Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

Triumfetta velutina Vahl, Symb. Bot. 3: 62(1794), Type: Habitat in Insula Franciae, Dn. Thouin.
RFK Code
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