Common name: Iron Weed, Fleabane, Purple Fleabane
Cyanthillium cinereum (L.) H.Rob. APNI*
Synonyms: Vernonia cinerea (L.) Less. APNI*
Description: Erect annual herb to 1.25 m tall; internodes ribbed, pubescent to scabrid.
Leaves variable, linear-lanceolate to elliptic, ovate to obovate-spathulate, basal and lower leaves 1–8 cm long to 5 cm wide, sinuate-serrate to pinnatifid or almost entire; adaxially glandular-punctate, sparcely hairy and green; abaxially thinly to thickly pubescent or almost glabrous; uppermost leaves often sessile and much smaller.
Flowers in lax, terminal corymbs 2.5–5 mm diam.; peduncles 5–12 mm long; involucre cylindrico-campanulate 2.5–3.5 mm wide; bracts hirsute and glandular. Florets 15–20 per head, mauve, purple or lilac, corolla tube 3–5 mm long.
Achenes terete, with no ribs, to 2 mm long, densely setulose, glandular. Pappus in 2 rows, outer bristles subulate, inner bristles linear.
Distribution and occurrence: Distributed widely from tropical Africa to the Pacific. In Australia 4 varieties are recognised, one native and 2 introduced. 3 varieties in NSW.
Text by Louisa Murray (Nov 2018)
Taxon concept: Flora of Australia Vol 37: 1 p183
| ||Key to the varieties|| |
|Leaves densely greyish villous-felted beneath, veins and veinlets bulging||var. lanatum|
|Leaves sparsely pubsecent beneath, veins and veinlets not bulging||2|
|2||Leaves remotely sinuate-serrate, or remotely irregularly toothed to more or less entire||var. cinereum|
|Leaves pinnatifid, with 3–6 mm long lobes|
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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.