Plants of
South Australia
Cotula bipinnata (∗)
Ferny Waterbuttons
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Distribution by Herbarium region
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier

Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.


Cotula from the Medieval Latin 'cotula', which is from the Greek 'kotyle' meaning a small cup; referring to the shape of the involucre. Bipinnata from the Latin 'bi' meaning two and 'pinnata' meaning feathered or winged; referring to the leaf stipules surrounding the stem.

Distribution and status

Found in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, along the Murray River and in the South-east in South Australia, growing in salt marshes and other saline, temporarily wet land. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Victoria. Naturalised. Common in South Australia. Rare in the Northern Territory. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Annual herb to 20 cm high with erect, glabrous, branching stems. Leaves oblanceolate to lanceolate, to 60 mm long and 20 mm wide, pinnatisect with pinnatifid segments, base stem-sheathing and pinnate. Flower heads to 8 mm diameter with pale yellow green flowers. Flowering between September and October. Fruits are dense pale brown daisy head. Seed embryo type is spatulate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and January. Collect heads that are drying off and turning brown, mature seeds should fall off easily. 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. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.