Emilia sonchifolia – Lilac Tasselflower
Scientific Name: Emilia sonchifolia
Common Names: Lilac Tasselflower, Cupid's Shaving Brush, Flora's Paintbrush, Emilia
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized weed and food plant is native to south Asia and the western Pacific.
Flower Color: Lavender pink, Lilac
Height: Up to 2 feet (0.6 m) tall
Description: The flower heads are small, narrowly urn-shaped to bell-shaped, and have light pink to lavender disks and no rays. The flowers are followed by seed heads with white, fluffy, wind-borne seeds. The leaves are green, alternate, and mainly found on the stems. The lower leaves have narrowly winged petioles and fine, blunt teeth or deep, rounded, pinnate lobes and are larger and broadly triangular, rounded, or egg-shaped. The upper leaves clasp the stems and are smaller, sessile, and sometimes coarsely toothed. The stems are weak, erect, branched, and hairless to sparsely hairy.
Here in Hawaii, Lilac Tasselflower grows in sunny, open, grassy, disturbed areas at lower elevations.
The similar Florida Tasselflower (Emilia fosbergii) has red to darker pink flowers and hairy lower stems, while Scarlet Tasselflower (Emilia coccinea) has larger, showier, orange-red flowers and hairy lower stems.
Edible – The young leaves (those before the plant flowers) are edible either raw or cooked.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus: Emilia Cass. – tasselflower
Species: Emilia sonchifolia (L.) DC. – lilac tasselflower
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