Peripleura scabra

tall fuzzweed


Peripleura scabra

(DC.) G.L.Nesom 1994

pronounced: per-rih-PLOO-ruh SKAB-ruh

(Asteraceae — the daisy family)

synonym — Vittadinia scabra

DC. 1836

pronounced: vit-tuh-DEE-nee-uh SKAB-ruh

common name: tall fuzzweed

native 4Peripleura is from the Greek term περιπλευρος (peripleuros) , covering the side; scabra is Latin, scaber, rough. In the synonym, Vittadinia would appear to be for Carlo Vittadini (1800–1865), Italian doctor and mycologist, although why the genus would have been named for a specialist in fungi and lichens I do not know. Peripleura is a fairly new Australian genus segregated from Vittadinia.

This little plant, photographed on the Forts walk, is listed as ‘rare’ under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. Although it does seem to be rare on Magnetic Island, I am glad to say that it appears to be more plentiful in the Mount Zero – Taravale Nature Reserve. This reserve, of 600 square kilometres situated some 60 km north-west of Townsville, is owned and managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and most of the photographs I have seen of Peripleura scabra have been taken there by Russell Cumming, a Townsville botanist. The Reserve varies in altitude from 350 m in the south-west to 1,050 m in the north-east, and in land form from rugged mountains to a broad alluvial valley. The vegetation includes rainforest, grassy eucalypt woodlands, arid spinifex-covered hills and open Hoop Pine woodlands. The annual average rainfall varies from 900 mm in the southern section to 1,300 mm in the north-east. It is home to hundreds of animal and bird species, including the threatened northern bettong (Bettongia tropica), the spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) and the masked owl (Tyto novaehollandiae).

Tall Fuzzweed is a small daisy that is easily missed owing to its ‘weedy’-looking growth habit. Its habitat is native grassy woodlands on granite slopes, in the southern drier parts of the Wet Tropics near the end of the Paluma Range, and on granite ridges and outcrops near Townsville. Its altitudinal range is up to about 1,000 m, and it is found in open eucalypt forest and woodland, as well as in vine thicket, heathland and grassland.
It is an erect annual herb whose stems are covered with tiny downy hairs. The leaves are narrow-elliptic to narrow-oblanceolate with attenuate bases, 5  – 6.5 cm long by 2 – 5 mm wide, acuminate, the margins slightly recurved, entire or with a few minute teeth.

The inflorescence is about 13 mm in diameter, and a pale mauve in colour. It is subtended by green bracts about 2 – 4 mm long. The ray florets are slender, and shorter than their pappus.

The individual fruits are narrow obovate in shape, each 2.5 – 3 mm long, with their width about a third of their length; the pappus is white, 5 – 6 mm long.


Photographs taken by The Forts walking track, 2014
Page last updated 8th March 2019