Spoon Cudweed

Stuartina muelleri Sond.

Synonyms - Gnophosis rotundifolia

Family: Asteraceae.

Names:

Stuartina recognises Charles Stuart, a botanist of Tasmania and New South Wales.
Spoon refers to the spoon shaped leaves.

Summary

A small, grey, woolly, annual herb with round leaves on long stalks and small crowded flower heads.

Description

Cotyledons:

Two.

Leaves:

Softly woolly, grey.
Stipules -
Petiole - At least as long as the blade and dilated at the base. Stem clasping.
Blade - Almost round, 4-18 mm long and up to 15 mm wide. Softly woolly and grey but sometimes becoming hairless and green on top.

Stems:

1 to several, 20-120 mm long. Erect or prostrate.

Flower head:

Greenish brown, small, sessile, conical, crowded in small clusters surrounded by stem leaves. It looks like it is at the end of a stem but is actually in a leaf axil.
Bracts surrounding the flower are 3-4 mm, egg shaped, papery, transparent and woolly or woolly at the base. 2-3 inner ones are longer, convex and rigid with dark coloured recurved tips.

Flowers:

Tubular and swollen toward the base. 2-3 outer ones are female and thread like. 2-3 disk flowers are bisexual, fertile and 5 toothed. No "petals".
Ovary -
Stamens -
Anthers - Tailed.

Fruit:

Achene. Inverted cone shape and usually hairy and somewhat warty.

Seeds:

No pappus.

Roots:

Key Characters:

Biology

Life cycle:

Annual. Germinates on the autumn rains, grows slowly through winter and flowers in spring. It dies off quickly with the onset of hot conditions.

Physiology:

Reproduction:

Flowering times:

September to December.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Hybrids:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed.
Ephemeral and appears in abundance only after good autumn rains. Often in clumps around 300 mm wide or as single plants scattered through pasture.

Origin and History:

Australian native.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, VIC, WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Cool season temperate.

Soil:

Wide range, but more abundant on sands and loams.

Plant Associations:

Dry areas in pasture, grasslands, woodland or open forest.

Significance:

Beneficial:

Detrimental:

Weed of pasture. Doesn't appear to be eaten by stock.

Toxicity:

Not reported to be toxic.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Rarely a problem in crops. Pastures may be sprayed with Jaguar if necessary.

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Herbicide resistance:

None reported.

Biological Control:

Not considered for biological control because it is a native plant.

Related plants:

Hooked Cudweed (Stuartina hamata) is very similar to Spoon Cudweed

Plants of similar appearance:

Hooked Cudweed (Stuartina hamata) has a rigid yellow hook on the bracts that surround the flower head. Otherwise it is very similar to Spoon Cudweed.

References:

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P896. Diagram.

Burbidge, N.T. and Gray, M. (1970). Flora of the Australian Capital Territory. (Australian National University Press, Canberra). P386-7. Diagram.

Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. and Leigh, J.H. (1992). Plants of Western New South Wales. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P687. Photo.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.