Eclipta prostrata (ASTERACEAE) White Eclipta, False Daisy

Plants to Plant

An annual herb that can be found creeping on wet ground in disturbed areas. Native to Australia but not recorded in Peter Young’s 1984 list of Enoggera species compiled for Brisbane Forest Park (now D’Aguilar National Park). Recorded as native in northern NSW (PlantNET). Distinguished by small, white, daisy-like flower-heads and leaves rough to the touch due to tough hairs. Leaves can be sessile (without petioles) or have petioles up to 3 mm. Opposite leaves are narrow, to 10 cm mostly less than 2 cm wide. Margins entire so sometimes slightly toothed. Undersides of leaves more hairy than the upper surfaces. Stems initially green, becoming reddish brown, freely branched and capable of rooting at the nodes. White flowers with many petals (ray florets) up to 15 mm when mature. Fruit are dark-brown bristles.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Immature Fruit

Widely used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine as a rejuvenative and liver tonic. Recorded by Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) as “a weed in moist bottomlands and muddy places,” (Wiggins & Porter, 1971). In Guam, “a pantropical weed of open, sunny, wet localities,” (Stone, 1970). In Hawai‘i, “naturalized in disturbed areas,” (Wagner et al., 1999). In Fiji, “found near sea level and said to be locally common…as a naturalized weed in waste places, cultivated areas, and open fields, often near ditches,” (Smith, 1991). “Uncommon to occasional in wet places such as roadside ditches,” (Whistler, 1988). In New Guinea, “a common plant of wet situations; foreshores, streamsides, roadside ditches and a weed of wet pasture and poorly-drained patches in plantations, at low altitudes,” (Henty & Pritchard, 1975). Recorded in the USA as being “introduced from Asia” and as “a weed in all continents”. Eclipta means deficient, from absence of pappus.

References and Resources

Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)