Plants of
South Australia
Centella asiatica
Asiatic Pennywort,
Asian Centella
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 4

Prior names

Hydrocotyle asiatica

Common names

Asiatic Pennywort

Asian Centella


Centella is from the Latinised diminutive of the Greek 'kentron' meaning a sharp point or bristle but used what it is referring to. Asiatica means of or from Asia, alluding to its distribution in Asia.

Distribution and status

Found in the lower Eyre Peninsula, Flinders Ranges, Mount Lofty Ranges, Murrayland and the lower South-east in South Australia, growing in moist areas on floodplains, swamps, ditches, margins of watercourses. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Native and introduced. Common in South Australia. Rare in the Northern Territory. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Southern Lofty, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Creeping perennial herb rooting at the nodes. Leaves cordate or circular to 4 cm long and wide, margins sinuate or crenate, glabrous, on a long stalk. Leaves resemble a Chinese coins, hence the folk name pennywort. Inflorescence in umbels with simple or occasionally 2–3 compound heads with 2-3  pink to crimson or purple or white flowers. Flowering possibly all year. Fruiting are pale brown umbels on a short stalk with numerous seeds. Mericarps (seeds) with 3–5 prominent longitudinal ribs with reticulate connecting veins between them.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect maturing fruits by picking off the clusters that are turning brown. Place the fruits in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the fruits with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. 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.