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Cassinia sifton Orchard
Family Asteraceae
Common name: Sifton Bush

Cassinia sifton Orchard APNI*

Synonyms: Cassinia arcuata sensu Everett, J. in Harden, G.J. (ed.) (1992) Flora of New South Wales 3: 216 p.p. APNI*

Description: Shrub, multistemmed, 1.2–2 m high; grey to reddish-brown smooth bark, slightly flaky; young twigs green with white hairs sparse to dense, some multicellular.

Leaves alternate, sessile, linear, appearing terete, 3.5–15 mm long, 0.7 mm wide, acute, margins strongly revolute, obscuring the midrib below. Upper surface mid-green, glabrous, slightly rugose; lower surface densely covered in cottony hairs.

Inflorescence a large loose panicle of several hundred heads, elongate and spike-like, deep red to brown, sometimes purple, often drooping. Heads 3.0–3.7 mm long, greenish-white turning red to brown at maturity. Receptacle cylindrical; involucral bracts all papery, spirally arranged in c. 3–5 whorls; outer involucral bracts brown, orbicular; inner oblong lanceolate; wing narrow, hyaline. Florets usually 2 or 3 per head; corolla red.

Achenes dull dark grey to deep reddish-purple or black, cylindrical 0.8–1.0 mm long, smooth or 3–4-ribbed. Pappus of c. 20–27 bristles, fused at base, barbellate.


Distribution and occurrence: Widespread in central NSW particularly in the Western Slopes region. Also in Victoria and introduced to South Australia and Western Australia. Originally the plant was less restricted but due to agricultural practices and gold digging the disturbed habitat was perfect for this species to thrive, therefore is a pioneer plant on less fertile areas. It can form dense shrubby stands.

Originally the plant was less restricted but due to agricultural practices and gold digging the disturbed habitat was perfect for this species to thrive, therefore is a pioneer plant on less fertile areas. It can form dense shrubby stands.
NSW subdivisions: CC, CT, ST, NWS, CWS, SWP
Other Australian states: Vic.
AVH map***

There has been a long history of confusion between the names Cassinia arcuata and C. sifton, sometimes identified also as C. theodorii. In the 20th century it was proclaimed a noxious weed under the name of Cassinia arcuata. C. sifton has red flowers and an elongate spike inflorescence; C. arcuata has white flowers and a pyramidal and dense inforescence.

Text by Louisa Murray
Taxon concept: Orchard, A.E. (2017), A revision of Cassinia (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae) in Australia. 7. Cassinia subgenus Achromolaena. Australian Systematic Botany 30(4): 358-363, Figs 15, 16, 17 (map)


APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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