Parthenium hysterophorus L.

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Parthenium hysterophorus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Old Runde Bridge, Mwenezi

Parthenium hysterophorus

Photo: Mark Hyde
Swan Drive, New Alexandra Park

Parthenium hysterophorus

Photo: Mark Hyde
Between Celebration Centre and Borrowdale Road, Harare

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Common names: Congress grass (English) Demoina weed (English) Famine weed (English) Feverfew (English) Parthenium (English)
Frequency: Local
Status: Introduced
Bushy much-branched annual herb to 1 m. Leaves sessile, up to 10 × 5 cm, deeply 2-pinnately lobed with obtuse ultimate segments, densely puberulent below, less so above. Panicle large and lax. Capitula c.3 mm in diameter, hemispheric. Phyllaries in 2 series, 2-3 mm. Rays c.0.5 mm, white, ± circular, 5 per capitulum. Fertile achenes black, c.2 mm, broadly obovoid, flattened, pubescent near apex.
Notes: Although abundantly common in Mozambique this species is still local in Zimbabwe. Not recorded for Zimbabwe in Wild (1967). It was first reported for Zimbabwe from Rainham Dam (R B Drummond, pers. comm.) First noticed by co-author Mark Hyde on the roadside verge in Chancellor Avenue, Harare in c.1990, but not collected until 1993, by which time the species had spread intermittently northwards along Chancellor Avenue as far north as the Veterinary Research establishment and southwards to about 100 m south of Josiah Tongogara Avenue. Further plants had also appeared in Fifth Street extension to the north of Josiah Tongogara Avenue. Since then, the spread of the species outside Harare has been surprisingly slow. The specimen in the image appears to be the first record for the Southern Division.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: Roadsides and disturbed places
Altitude range: (metres)
Flowering time:All year
Worldwide distribution: Native of South and Central America; naturalised elsewhere in the tropics
Zimbabwe distribution: W,C,E,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Wednesday 11 November 2015

Bandeira, S., Bolnick, D. & Barbosa, F. (2007). Wild Flowers of Southern Mozambique Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique Page 212. (Includes a picture).

Beentje, H.J. & Ghazanfar, S.A. (eds.) (2005). Compositae (Part 3) Flora of Tropical East Africa Pages 815 - 816. (Includes a picture).

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 146.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 27.

Wild, H. (1967). The Compositae of the Flora Zambesiaca area. 1. Heliantheae. Kirkia 6(1) Pages 8 - 9.

Other sources of information about Parthenium hysterophorus:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Parthenium hysterophorus
Flora of Mozambique: Parthenium hysterophorus

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Parthenium hysterophorus
African Plant Database: Parthenium hysterophorus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Parthenium hysterophorus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Parthenium hysterophorus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Parthenium hysterophorus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Parthenium hysterophorus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Parthenium hysterophorus
JSTOR Plant Science: Parthenium hysterophorus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Parthenium hysterophorus
Plants of the World Online: Parthenium hysterophorus
Tropicos: Parthenium hysterophorus
Wikipedia: Parthenium hysterophorus

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Parthenium hysterophorus., retrieved 18 April 2024

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