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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Southern brassbuttons  (Cotula australis)

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Life stages of Southern brassbuttons mature plant flower and fruit seedling seeds

Southern brassbuttons, native to Australia, is a low-growing annual broadleaf with branching stems. It has aromatic leaves and buttonlike flower heads and is sometimes confused with lawn burweed. In California it is found in the North, Central, and South Coast to an elevation of about 800 feet (250 m). Southern brassbuttons grows on agricultural land and other disturbed areas, especially in coastal areas.


Turf, landscaped areas, gardens, yards, orchards, vineyards, annual crops, and disturbed, unmanaged places.


Cotyledons (seed leaves) are long, narrow, and fleshy. The first true leaves are divided into three narrow lobes.

Mature plant

Finely dissected leaves are sparsely covered with short hairs and are arranged alternate to one another along the stem on short stalks. Although confused with southern brassbuttons, lawn burweed leaves are shorter, usually palm shaped, and often have dark to purple stem spots and the flowers are green


Flowers bloom from January through May. They are small, pale yellow to white, and cluster into heads atop long stalks. They do not have prominent petals. Leaves of the flowering heads have brown tips.


There are two fruit types. One is egg-shaped, broadly winged and stalked. The other is barely winged and virtually stalkless. Both types consist of one flat seed and have glandlike hairs on both sides.


Southern brassbuttons reproduce by seed.

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