Emilia sonchifolia

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Emilia sonchifolia
Emilia sonchifolia-Silent Valley-2016-08-13-001.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Emilia
Species: E. sonchifolia
Binomial name
Emilia sonchifolia
(L.) DC. ex Wight
  • Cacalia sonchifolia Hort ex L.
  • Crassocephalum sonchifolium (L.) Less.
  • Emilia marivelensis Elmer
  • Emilia purpurea Cass.
  • Emilia rigidula DC.
  • Emilia sinica Miq.
  • Gynura ecalyculata DC.
  • Prenanthes javanica (Burm.f.) Willd.
  • Senecio auriculatus Burm.f.
  • Senecio rapae F.Br.
  • Senecio sonchifolius (L.) Moench
  • Sonchus javanicus (Burm.f.) Spreng.

Emilia sonchifolia, also known as lilac tasselflower or cupid's shaving brush is tropical flowering species of tasselflower and in the sunflower family.[3] It is widespread in tropical regions around the world, apparently native to Asia (China, India, Southeast Asia, etc.) and naturalized in Africa, Australia, the Americas, and various oceanic islands.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Emilia sonchifolia is a branching, perennial herb up to 40 cm (15.5 in) tall. Leaves are lyrate-pinnatilobed, up to 10 cm (4 in) long, sometimes becoming purplish as they get old. One plant can produce several pink or purplish flower heads.[4]

Emilia sonchifolia is an annual herb, which, is erect and sparingly hairy soft stemmed. The plant grows to 20 to 70 cm in height with a branch tap root. The leave pattern is alternate with winged petioles. Leaves on the lower end of the stem are round/oval shape, 4 to 16 cm in height and 1 to 8 cm in width. The leaves on the upper end of the stem are smaller than the leaves on the lower end of the stem, and are often coarsely toothed.[12]

The inflorescence is often dichotomous with 3 to 6 stalked flower heads and whorl bracts beneath. The urn-shaped flower head has 30-60 florets per head, the outer ray florets are female and the inner disc florets bisexual (with both stamens and stigmas). The flower can be a range of colors such as purple, scarlet, red, pink, orange, white or lilac. The fruit produced is oval shaped, reddish brown or off-white, has white hairs up to 8 mm long, and exhibits dry indehiscent properties.[12]

Biology and ecology[edit]

Emilia sonchifolia completes its life cycle in ~90 days. There are two types of seed, which are defined by the color of the achene.[12] The first, a female outer circle of florets of a flower head produces a red and brown achenes. The second, is the inner hermaphrodite florets, which, are off white.[13] Most seeds germinate at 27 °C but those which develop from outer florets will germinate under deep shade. Plants will only emerge from seeds near the surface, however, some seed can germinate (4%) while buried deep (4 cm).[12] A study, states 29% of seeds germinated when placed at 0.5 cm below the soil, while only 3% germinated when buried 1 cm.[12][14] The seed carries a pappus of hairs, indicating the use of wind as a dispersal agent.[12]


Emilia sonchifolia is commonly reported as a weed crop. In most areas, it is reported as noninvasive, however, in some cotton producing areas, it is classified as the most problematic weeds.[12]

It has certain effects on individual crops, such as decreases in weight of lettuce(by 70%) and mustard cabbage(by 30%), and a decreased yield of tomato fruit by 18%.[12]

The pathogens associated with Emilia sonchifolia also have effects of certain crops. Emilia sonchifolia is a host of Xanthomonas campetris, which, causes a bacterial infection in beans in Brazil and Cuba.[12]


Emilia sonchifolia can grow anywhere from sea level to 1000 meters. It exists over a wide range of conditions from the tropics to grasslands, waste areas, roadsides, and partially shaded areas. It is tolerant of acid conditions. Emilia sonchifolia is a native of Central and South America.[12]

Medicinal uses[edit]

It is a medicinal herb in Chinese, called ye xia hong (Chinese: 葉下紅). It is one among the "Ten Sacred Flowers of Kerala State in India, collectively known as Dasapushpam. In Vietnam, it has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of fever, sore throat, diarrhea, eczema and as an antidote for snake bites.[15]

The leaves and young shoots can be used, raw or cooked. The leaves are harvested before the plant flowers.[16]

The young leaves are used as food in Java and Puerto Rico, however, in India and China, it is used medicinally.[12]

Weed management[edit]

Emilia sonchifolia is classified as a weed that grows in the fields of many agriculture crops, but it can be controlled via the use of certain chemicals. For example, in rice, a mixture of pretilachlor and dimethametryn, and a mixture of piperophos with propanil or oxidiazon, are added to the soil after sowing, resulting in 8–12 weeks of growth control against Emilia sonchifolia. In soybean fields, a mixture of bentazone, fomensafen and sethoxydim is used to control Emilia sonchifolia growth. In cotton and soybean fields, sethoxydim is the chemical agent used to control Emilia sonchifolia growth. Lastly, atrazine is the chemical agent used to control the growth of Emilia sonchifolia in sugarcane crops.[12]


Emilia sonchifolia contains tumorigenic pyrrolizidine alkaloids, causing hepatotoxicity.[17]



  1. ^ "Emilia sonchifolia record n° 95932". African Plants Database. South African National Biodiversity Institute, the Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève and Tela Botanica. Retrieved 2008-05-21. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". 
  3. ^ Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). "PLANTS Profile, Emilia sonchifolia". The PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  4. ^ a b Flora of China, 一点红 yi dian hong, Emilia sonchifolia (Linnaeus) Candolle
  5. ^ Atlas of Living Australia
  6. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  7. ^ Nicolson, D. H. 1980. Summary of cytological information on Emilia and the taxonomy of four Pacific taxa of Emilia (Asteraceae: Senecioneae). Systematic Botany 5(4): 391–407
  8. ^ Nelson, C. H. 2008. Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de Honduras 1–1576. Secretaria de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente, Tegucigalpa
  9. ^ Berendsohn, W.G. & A.E. Araniva de González. 1989. Listado básico de la Flora Salvadorensis: Dicotyledonae, Sympetalae (pro parte): Labiatae, Bignoniaceae, Acanthaceae, Pedaliaceae, Martyniaceae, Gesneriaceae, Compositae. Cuscatlania 1(3): 290–1–290–13
  10. ^ Humbert, H. 1963. Composées. Flore de Madagascar et des Comores 189: 623–911
  11. ^ Jeffrey, C. 1986. Notes on Compositae: IV. The Senecioneae in East Tropical Africa. Kew Bulletin 41(4): 873–943
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Emilia sonchifolia (red tasselflower)". CABI. CABI. Retrieved 24 October 2017. 
  13. ^ Marks, M.K, and C Akosim. “Achene dimorphism and germination in three composite weeds.” Invasive Species Compendium, CABI, www.cabi.org/isc/abstract/19840767937.
  14. ^ Pemadasa M; Kangatharalingam N, 1977. Factors affecting germination of some Compositaes. Ceylon Journal of Agricultural Science, 12:157-168.
  15. ^ Tanaka, Yoshitaka; Van Ke, Nguyen (2007). Edible Wild Plants of Vietnam: The Bountiful Garden. Thailand: Orchid Press. p. 43. ISBN 9745240893. 
  16. ^ DC, L. "Emilia sonchifolia". Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future. Retrieved 24 October 2017. 
  17. ^ Fu, P.P., Yang, Y.C., Xia, Q., Chou, M.C., Cui, Y.Y., Lin G., "Pyrrolizidine alkaloids-tumorigenic components in Chinese herbal medicines and dietary supplements", Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, Vol. 10, No. 4, 2002, pp. 198-211 [1][permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Media related to Emilia sonchifolia at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Emilia sonchifolia at Wikispecies