Kenya Natural History Guide >>> Plants >>> Composites/Asteraceae >>> Coat Buttons

Coat Buttons

Tridax procumbens

Detail of inflorescence, achenes and leaves of an unidentified asteraceae Nairobi, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Clockwise from upper right: Unopened head with pinkish rays, open inflorescence with white ray and yellow disc flowers, leaves, mature achenes (seeds). Nairobi, Kenya, Africa. April 2011. Follow the thumb link at right for more information about the white and black insects.

A possible felt scale observed feeding on this composite photo © Michael Plagens

There are more than 22,700 described species of sunflowers in the world which can make identification a considerable task. On the other hand composites (another name for Asteraceae) have many unique features that can help narrow down a specimen. The characteristics of this Asteraceae are as follows:

  • Ray Flowers: Three to seven bright white at anthesis; pinkish in bud.
  • Disc Flowers: Many yellow disc flowers
  • Phyllaries: Single series.
  • Pappus: Plumose, capillary bristles
  • Chaffy pales between the florets
  • Leaves: Rather tough-textured leaves with broad serrations. Stiff pubescence on leaves and stems.

About two months after I posted this web page, I learned that this is yet another exotic weed in Kenya native to tropical America. Bart Wursten, a developer of one of the most useful websites devoted to African flora, Flora of Zimbabwe, supplied the identification.

Asteraceae -- Sunflower Family

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Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Created on 26 Aug 2011, updated 11 Nov. 2011