Cyanthillium cinereum

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Cyanthillium cinereumFamily: Asteraceae
Genus: Cyanthillium
Synonym: Vernonia cinerea
Common names: Little ironweed, Purple fleabane
ALA reference

This little annual or short-lived perennial was previously classified as Vernonia cinerea. Two quite distinct forms of this species can be found growing in the Reserve. However the two forms are not recognised by botanists as being botanically significant.

The first form, which I call Cyanthillium cinereum “Dr. Jekyll”, appears to me to be a sweet and lovely little native herb. It only grows to about 30 cm and has long rather narrow glabrous leaves. The mauve flowers are followed by heads of windborne seeds (achenes). This form can be found mainly in the eastern half of the Reserve with an obvious clump in a cleared area about halfway down the northern firetrail.

I call the second form Cyanthillium cinereum “Mr. Hyde”. This form appears to me be a rather gross and somewhat ugly ‘weed’. It grows to about a metre in height with rather broad and often hairy leaves. The leaves are always a paler green than the above form. It has masses of pale mauve to almost white flowers followed by heads of windborne seeds. This form is mostly found on the western edge of the Reserve, just below the picnic ground. However it too is a native plant and should be treated as such. (November 2010)

Cyanthillium cinereumThis little annual or short-lived perennial was previously classified as Vernonia cinerea. It can be found growing along the cleared area which is the extension of Eddystone Road. The seed heads are about 10 mm in diameter and almost spherical. The individual seeds are about 2 mm long, surmounted by a small fluffy head. Like many plants with wind borne seeds it is also native to other countries. (December 2007)

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