Acanthospermum australe from Meredith in SC

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I found this growing under an oak tree in my front yard in the Midlands. It’s a hill, sandy loam, mostly shady. I rescued a Creeping Lantana right near where I found this. Identification is KILLING ME, best I can come up with is some variety of Speedwell? The fruits are the curious things. There’s a pic of them – 5lobed green spiky stars with a tuft of flower material in the middle. I haven’t seen any flowers, they seem to hide under the leaf bunches at the end of the longer stems.

Hi Meredith,

this is an interesting plant called Acanthospermum australe, or sheep bur. I have seen it in Bolivia where it is native, but it is introduced here and probably came in with wool from South America many years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in SC but it is apparently not rare in disturbed soils of the coastal plain and piedmont of the Carolinas. It is actually distantly related to sunflowers and is in the family Asteraceae.


Dr. Steven Hill, Botanist, SCNPS


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