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Melanthera biflora



Botanical Name

Melanthera biflora (L.) Wild

Wild, H. (1965) Kirkia 5: 4. Type: ?.


Wedelia biflora (L.) DC., Contributions to the Botany of India: 18(1834), Type: ?. Wollastonia biflora (L.) DC., Prodromus 5: 546(1836), Type: ?. Verbesina biflora L., Species Plantarum ed. 2 2: 1272(1763), Type: India?.

Common name

Beach Sunflower; Beach Daisy; Sunflower, Beach


Occasionally flowers and fruits as a herb but often flowers as a shrub 1-2 m tall.


Leaf blades about 2-10 x 1-4 cm, scabrous on both the upper and lower surfaces. Margins irregularly toothed from the base to the apex. Twigs and stems scabrous. Stems 4-angled.


Flowers produced in heads about 8-10 mm diam., each head with an outer whorl of female ray florets and a central region of hermaphrodite disk florets. (The whole structure would probably be interpreted as a single flower by the casual observer.) Anthers fused together but the filaments free. Style and stigmas yellow. Stigmas hairy or papillose.


Fruits produced in a dense head. Endocarp brown and tuberculate, surrounded by a cream corky layer. Each nut about 2-3 mm long, triangular in transverse section. Testa thin and white. Embryo about 1 mm long, cotyledons about 0.5 mm long.


Cotyledons +/- orbicular, about 3.5-8 mm diam., petiole about 7 mm long. First pair of leaves scabrous, margins entire or with a few teeth. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves +/- lanceolate, apex apiculate, base attenuate, margins conspicuously toothed, both the upper and lower surfaces scabrous. Stems scabrous, longitudinally ribbed.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and southwards as far as New South Wales. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 500 m. Grows in beach forest, monsoon forest and vine thickets. Also occurs in Malesia, SE Asia and the Pacific islands.

Natural History

This species has medicinal uses. ( ml)

This species has been used medicinally in Malaysia and the Solomon Islands. Cribb (1981).



Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)


Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)


RFK Code