Quick Facts

Quick facts

  • Cineraria (Cineraria lyratiformis) is an annual upright or trailing herb to 1 m high that is indigenous to Lesotho and South Africa.
  • In Australia it is currently only known as being naturalised in the Mudgee area (Rylstone district) of New South Wales.
  • It is a weed of disturbed areas, roadsides, grazing land, lightly grazed bushland and riparian areas.
  • It tolerates a range of soil types and moisture levels, and has serious potential to spread further.
  • Cineraria can be easily confused with the radiate species of Senecio, but is most readily distinguished from Senecio by its broadly-winged, compressed seeds.
  • Preventing the production and dispersal of seed by manual methods, grazing and sowing of competitive pasture is the main basis of control.

What Does It Look Like?

What is it?

Cineraria (Cineraria lyratiformis) is an annual upright or trailing herb to 1 m high, that is mostly hairless. The stems are branched near the base. The leaves are deeply lobed, 1.5-8 cm long, 5-30 mm wide and lyre-shaped, with the terminal lobe usually large and rounded, the lower lobes much smaller, mostly in two to three pairs. The lower leaves are stalked, and the upper leaves are stalkless.

The small (5-8 mm across) daisy-like flowers are borne in loosely branched clusters at the tips of the branches. They are bright yellow, borne on stalks 2-30 mm long, and have about eight 'petals' (i.e. ray florets) that are 5-8 mm long. The flower heads also contain numerous (32-40 or more) tiny yellow tubular florets (3-4 mm long) at their centre and are enclosed in several (12-14) bracts (small scale like leaves) that are 4-5 mm long.

The seeds are spindle-shaped, compressed, 2-2.5 mm long, 1.5-2.0 mm wide, black or dark brown, with broad pale wings. They are topped with a ring of slender white hairs (pappus) which are shed early (Scott 1992; Cron et al. 1999; Pooley 2003; Navie 2004; Thompson 2006; Harden 2007).

For further information and assistance with identification of Cineraria contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Flower colour


Growth form (weed type/habit)


Where it currently grows? Preferred habitat

In its natural range in Lesotho and South Africa, Cineraria inhabits subtropical and warm-temperate grasslands and savannas on a range of soils and geological substrata, including quartzite and dolerite, in sandy soils, clays and mudstone (Henderson & Anderson 1966; Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001; Cron et al. 1999). In South Africa it typically grows in disturbed areas such as wasteland, cultivated land, old fields, roadsides, grazed fields, and in burnt sites (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001; Cron et al. 1992; Pooley 2003; Thompson 2006).

In Australia, it grows as a weed in dry river beds, on stream banks and seepage areas, disturbed roadsides, fence lines and lightly grazed paddocks (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

Are there similar species?

Cineraria is similar to some radiate (i.e. those species with petal-like segments) species of Senecio, but is distinguished most readily by its compressed, winged seeds (Thompson 2006).

Why Is It A Weed?

What are its impacts?

Agriculture: In Australia, Cineraria is a localised minor weed of pastures in the Mudgee district (Groves et al. 1997). It appears not to be a serious weed in vigorous pastures, and performs best in lightly grazed sites (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001). Given the broad range of soils that Cineraria can grow on, as well as tolerating both dry and damp conditions, it has great potential to spread further (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

Cineraria is usually readily eaten by stock (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001), but in Africa it has been suspected of poisoning pigs and has also been reported to taint the flavour of milk and cheese (Cron et al. 1999).

How does it spread?

The seeds of Cineraria are adapted for spread by wind, but because the pappus is shed easily, most of the seeds fall close to the parent plant (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001). Most spread has apparently been by water, the seed having dispersed over long distances along the streams in the Mudgee area (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001). It is also likely that animals and vehicles may act as vectors in the distribution of seed. It is further possible that some spread may occur via contaminated soil and agricultural produce (Stajsic 2008).

What is its history in Australia?

It is unknown how Cineraria was introduced to Australia. It was first recorded as naturalised in 1984 in the Mudgee area, in central-eastern New South Wales. It has been suggested that Cineraria may have been introduced after World War II, possibly as a contaminant in clothing and luggage (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

How To Manage It?

Best practice management

Cineraria is an annual herb, and reproduction is exclusively by seed. Effective control needs to be based on preventing or reducing seed production and dispersal (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

Non-chemical control: Isolated plants and small infestations can be physically hand pulled. Flowering heads should be removed to prevent the dissemination of seeds, and placed in plastic bags for disposal (Stajsic 2008). Larger populations can also be repeatedly slashed to minimise flowering and seeding (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

In pasture situations, Cineraria can be controlled by establishing a vigorous, competitive pasture. Increased grazing pressure by sheep, rather than cattle, will also reduce the development of Cineraria (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001). Given that Cineraria typically occupies disturbed sites, soil disturbance may also induce germination (Stajsic 2008). Soil disturbance is likely to bring on a flush of seedlings, which can be reduced or destroyed by allowing the pasture to be grazed by sheep or goats (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001). There are no registered herbicides for the control of Cineraria (Ensbey 2004).

Does it have a biological control agent?


When does it grow? (lifecycle/growth calendar)

Cineraria is an annual herb. Seeds germinate mostly in summer, depending on availability of suitable moisture. In both southern Africa and Australia, flowering occurs between October and March, rarely in May and August, with peak flowering in November (Hilliard 1977; Cron et al. 1999; Parsons & Cuthertson 2001; Pooley 2003).

Where Is It Found?

Which states and territories is it found?


What areas within states and territories is it found?

In Australia, Cineraria is only known to be naturalised in New South Wales, where it occurs in the Mudgee area, in the central-eastern part of the state. The main infestations are along Cox's Creek, and parts of the Cudgegong River. The size of the populations would suggest that the species had been present for quite some time before it was detected (Groves et al. 1997; Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

Where does it originate?

Cineraria is native to Lesotho and South Africa (Thompson 2006; GRIN 2007). Outside its natural range, it appears to be naturalised only in Australia (GRIN 2007).

National And State Weed Listings

Is it a Weed of National Significance (WONS)?


Where is it a declared weed?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the Agricultural Sleeper List?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Names And Taxonomy

Main scientific name

Cineraria lyratiformis

Other scientific names (synonyms)?

Cineraria lyrata DC.

Does it have other known common name(s)?

African Marigold, Wild Parsley, Boerelusern, Geelblom, Khotoliea

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