Richardia brasiliensis (RUBIACEAE) White Eye, Mexican Clover

Weeds to Whack

Native to South America, this weed prefers damp shady places, so can be quite a problem in rainforest. Cultivated as a garden ornamental. An annual herb with prostrate stems developing a long taproot native to tropical South America. A weed of footpaths, roadsides, cultivation and degraded pastures. Weed risk low, innocuous.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Foliage, Flowers

Stems are prostrate or sprawling with short rough hairs. Leaves with entire margins, are hairy and rough to the touch, especially along the edges, oppositely arranged with oval (elliptic) blades that are pointed at the tip. The leaf stalks (petioles) are 4-12 mm long and the margins entire.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers Close-up

Groups of up to twenty or more small white flowers, tubular in the lower part, with six petal lobes and six hairy sepals, are clustered into inflorescences at the ends of the branches. At the base of each inflorescence are two or four bracts. Flowering occurs mainly from spring through to autumn. The fruit split apart into three one-seeded segments when mature. A similar Richardia, Richardia stellaris has leaves that are not stalked and its flowers have four petals and sepals.

Photo: Robert Whyte