Erechtites hieracifolia (L.) Rafin. ex DC

Erechtites hieracifolia (L.) Rafin. ex DC




Senecio hieraci­folius L.

Vernacular Names


Pilewort, Malayan ground­sel.


Sintrong (Sun­da), bolostrok (Sunda), jambrong (Sunda).


Hagalpohansaw (Bisaya), doyan-doyan (Bukidnon), salimbego (Marinduque).


Phakkat-nokkut (Central).



Geographical Distributions

Erechtites hieracifolia is native to the more humid parts of North and South America. It is adventitious in Central Europe, Hawaii and Southeast Asia. It does not occur in Africa, the Near East, Aus­tralia or the Pacific islands.


Erechtites hieracifolia is an annual herb that can grow up to 2 m tall.

The leaves are sessile, or if shortly petiolate, are then with conspicuously alate petiole, lance-shaped or oblong­lance-shaped and measuring 3-30 cm x 0.5-7 cm. The lower ones are narrow while the higher ones are broad, and truncate or auricled at the base. The higher ones are coarsely dentate-­pinnately lobed. The peduncle is up to 6 cm long.

The flower head measures 12-15 mm x 6-8 mm where the diametre is al­ways about half of its length. The involucre is 10-12 mm long. The flowers are light yellow. The marginal florets are bi-or pluriseriate.

The one-seeded fruit is about 2.5 mm long. It is brown, entirely white and with 8-12 mm long pappus.

Ecology / Cultivation

Erechtites hieracifolia thrives in sun­ny, rather moist localities, on roadsides, in recent clearings and on waste sites, often becoming com­mon but tolerable weeds in estate crop planta­tions. It is among the early colonisers in new­ly cleared areas, especially after burning (fire­weed). It occurs in the lowlands as well as in the mountains up to 2200 m altitude. Its presence and quantity are usually considered indication of very fertile topsoil.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 8: Vegetables.