Plants of
South Australia
Centipeda cunninghamii
Compositae
Old Man Weed
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
Endangered
Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.

Etymology

Centipeda from Latin for centipede, from 'centi' meaning hundred and 'ped' meaning foot, referring to the creeping stems. Cunninghamii named after Allan Cunningham (1791-1839), an English botanist and explorer, primarily known for his travels to Australia (New South Wales) and New Zealand to collect plants and author of Florae Insularum Novae Zelandiae Precursor, 1837-40 (Introduction to the flora of New Zealand).

Distribution and status

Found in the eastern half of South Australia, growing in many communities, usually on sites subject to flooding. Also found in all States. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

An erect or ascending, perennial herb to 20 cm high; glabrous, or cottony near growing tips; stems much-branched. Leaves oblong to more less spatulate, to 15 mm long and 4 mm wide, margins shallowly toothed or subentire, narrowed to base but petiole indistinct. Flower heads creamy-green with no petals; globular, single, at the bases of the leaves or at the ends of the stems. Flowering between January to April. Fruits are brown dense daisy head. Seeds are pale brown narrow ovoid seed to 2 mm long and 0.6 mm wide, with scattered hairs on the narrower part. Seed embryo type is spatulate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between March and July. Collect heads that are drying off and turning brown. Place the heads in a tray for a week to dry. Then rub the heads gently with your hands or a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be careful as the seeds are very small. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 85%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
383,000 (12.7 g)
383,000 (12.7 g)
25+3-Jan-2007RJB70979
Murray
1-Aug-200785%-18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.