Singapore daisy

Sphagneticola trilobata

Synonyms - Wedelia trilobata

Family: - Asteraceae


Sphagneticola means 'Sphagnum dweller', a possible reference to the plant being able to survive in waterlogged or flooded sites.
Trilobata because it has 3-lobed leaves.

Other Names:

Ate, Atiat, Bay Biscayne Creeping Oxeye, Creeping Daisy, Creeping Ox-eye, Dihpw Ongohng, Hasenfuss, Ngesil ra Ngebard, Rabbit's Paw, Rosrangrang, Singapore Daisy, Trailing Daisy, Tuhke Ongohng, Ut Mõkadkad, Ut Telia, Wedelia, Yellow Creeping Daisy, Yellow Dots.


A vigorous, perennial ground cover or low-climbing plant, 0.2-0.7 m high by 2-4 m wide with 3-lobed, glossy green, opposite leaves and yellow daisy flowers. It forms dense mounded mats over ground.




First leaves:


Lush, glossy green and paler green below, and in pairs along stem (opposite). Pointed tip, curved or lobed sides, tapered (cuneate) base
Stipules - small and leafy.
Petiole - Very short or none.
Blade - usually 3-lobed, 4-18cm long, 1.5-8cm wide with simple coarse white hairs, serrated margins, sunken network veins


Stoloniferous, up to 2000 mm long, rounded, rooting at nodes, green or reddish. Hairy to almost hairless.
Flower stem - (peduncles) 30-150 mm long.

Flower head:

Daisy-like, 20-35 mm wide and on short stalks above the leaves.
Borne on solitary or branched inflorescences.
The base of each flower-head (capitulum) has a row of narrow (lanceolate) green bracts (~10 mm long).


Ovary -
Petals - Ray florets yellow to orange-yellow (8-13 per head), 8-13 mm long with finely toothed tips. Central disc florets yellow and tubular and 4-5 mm long.
Stamens -
Anthers -


3-cornered nuts, very small (3 - 5mm), with corky covering and topped by short scales, mature from green to brown with a rough (tuberculate) surface. They are dispersed by water. The dry fruit (achene) is indehiscent.


Elongated, brown, 4-5mm long.


Fibrous roots.
Adventitious roots are formed at the stoloniferous stem nodes.

Key Characters:

Yellow daisy like flowers.
Paired leaves.


Life cycle:

Perennial. It usually establishes from stem fragments and forms adventitious roots at the nodes. It will flower at any time of the year but rarely sets viable seed.


Produces the toxic ivalin and allelopathic compounds.


Pollinated by insects.

Flowering times:

Flowers year-round, mostly from spring to autumn in Queensland.
Flowers freely produced throughout the year in the warm tropics.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Seldom sets fertile seed under local conditions.

Vegetative Propagules:

Stem fragments



Live and dead plant matter contains allelopathic compounds that inhibit growth and germination of other plants. Don't use in compost.

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Mainly by cuttings from slashing and pruning

Origin and History:

Native to tropical America.



Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.
IBRA Regions: Northern Kimberley, Ord Victoria Plain, Victoria Bonaparte
Local Government Areas: Derby-West Kimberley, Wyndham-East Kimberley


Gardens, parks, bushland, disturbed areas, roadsides and footpaths.
Prefers full sun but also performs well in shady conditions. Tolerant of dry periods and periodic inundation.




Moist and coastal sands.
Very adaptable to wide range of soil types, including nutrient-poor sand, swampy or waterlogged areas and bare limestone.
Tolerates saline soils and salt spray.
Grows in acid, alkaline and shallow soils.

Plant Associations:



Ornamental ground cover.
Used in herbal medicine for as a paste of mashed leaves applied to joints to relieve arthritis and rheumatic symptoms. Crushed leaves used as poultice or drunk as tea to treat colds, flu, fever and inflammation. It should not be consumed by pregnant women, due to possibility of miscarriage.


Spreads rapidly and smothering companion plants.
Invades environmental areas.
Listed amongst the top 100 of world's worst alien species by IUCN.


All plant parts contain ivalin which is toxic to mammals when ingested and known to result in abortion.
The closely related Apowollastonia cylindrica (synonym Wedelia asperrima) is suspected of causing stock deaths in Queensland. Field cases are rare because the plant is unpalatable. Symptoms included dullness, shivering and muscular spasms giving sheep a still-legged appearance followed by uncontrolled leg movements and clamping of the jaws.
On post mortem inflammation of the fourth stomach and small bowel with straw coloured fluid in the body and chest cavities and variable congestion of the lungs.



Remove stock form infested areas.


Declared plant of New South Wales and Queensland.

Management and Control:

Mechanically remove runners and burn or place in a black plastic bag for several days in the sun.
Metsulfuron, glyphosate or clopyralid herbicides provide control.


Eradication strategies:

Mechanically remove all stem fragments.
Try spraying with triclopyr plus picloram products.

Herbicide resistance:

None expected.

Biological Control:


Related plants:

Wedelia species and Apowollastonia species are related.

Plants of similar appearance:

Native beach flower (Melanthera biflora)has sparsely to densely hairy upper leaf surfaces that are not lobed, its flower-heads are often borne in small clusters and it is also restricted to coastal areas.


Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).
Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).
Gardner, G.A. and Bennetts, H.W. (1956). The toxic plants of Western Australia. (West Australian Newspapers Ltd, Perth). P198-200.
Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). 1059.2
Randall, J.M. and Marinelli, J. (1996) Invasive Plants. (Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Inc. Brooklyn). P. Photo.


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