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Erechtites valerianifolius f. valerianifolius



Botanical Name

Erechtites valerianifolius (Wolf) DC. f. valerianifolius

Candolle, A.P. de (1838) Prodromus 6: 195. Type: ?.


Erechtites valerianifolius (Wolf) DC. f. valerianifolius, Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 43: 26(1956), Type: ?. Senecio valerianifolius Wolf, Ind. Sem. Hort.. Berol. (1825); ex Reichb. Ic. Bot. Exot. 1: 59(1825), Type: ?.

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.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from South America, now naturalized in NEQ 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.



Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)


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


RFK Code