Dittrichia viscosa is a highly branching perennial common throughout the Mediterranean Basin. It has long, narrow leaves that are pointed at both ends and have teeth along the edges and glandular hairs on the surfaces. One plant can produce many yellow flower heads each with as many as 16 ray florets and 44 disc florets.
Originally, the species was found mainly in dry riverbeds and abandoned fields up to a 1500 m (5000 feet) elevation. Nowadays it is quite common in roadsides and ruderal habitats, even in urban areas. It is considered an invasive species in Australia. The false yellowhead is a tough plant, very resistant to adverse conditions and degraded environments. It is important as food for the caterpillars of certain butterflies and moths, like Iolana iolas.
Despite the fresh-looking green color of its leaves and its attractive inflorescence, this plant is sticky and has a certain smell that most people find unpleasant. It contains an essential oil and has been used in traditional medicine since ancient times, especially in the Levant, as an astringent.
It is an important plant in Catalan tradition, often mentioned in adages and proverbs. One adage says that: "No vos 'nemoreu, amor,de cap fadrina gallarda que és com la flor d'olivarda molt guapa, i dolenta d'olor." [My dear one, don't fall in love with any woman who only has good looks, she is like a false yellowhead flower: beautiful, but full of stench.]
- Dittrichia viscosa subsp. angustifolia (Bég.) Greuter
- Dittrichia viscosa subsp. maritima (Brullo & De Marco) Greuter
- Dittrichia viscosa subsp. revoluta (Hoffmanns. & Link) P.Silva & Tutin
- Dittrichia viscosa subsp. viscosa
Leaves, flowers and fruits
Utetheisa pulchella on Dittrichia viscosa
- The Plant List, Dittrichia viscosa (L.) Greuter
- "Dittrichia viscosa". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- Malta Wild Plants, false yellowhead, Dittrichia viscosa includes photos, description, etymology, and other information
- Weeds Australia, False yellowhead (Dittrichia viscosa) weed management guide (in English)
- Institució Catalana d'Història Natural, Flora del Bages - Olivarda in Catalan with photos
- Ses Sitges, Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, Plantes aromàtiques Archived January 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine in Italian, with photos and descriptions of several aromatic herbs
- Avisco Ltd., Traditional medicine uses of Inula viscosa
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