EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 01 - 2009 Num. article: 2009/017

The situation of Cotula coronopifolia in the EPPO region

Cotula coronopifolia (Asteraceae) has been voluntarily introduced for ornamental purposes or for revegetation in many countries, and is also though to have been introduced as a contaminant, probably in sediments and ballast waters. It has shown invasiveness in some countries.

Geographical distribution
EPPO region: Belgium, Denmark, France (including Corsica), Germany, Greece, Italy (including Sardinia), the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain (including Islas Baleares), Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Africa (native): Namibia, South Africa
North America: Canada (British Columbia, Quebec), USA (Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington).
South America: Argentina, Chile.
Oceania: Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia), New Zealand.

Note: within the EPPO region, the species is not considered to be a problem except in Spain, Sardinia, and to a lesser extent in France.

C. coronopifolia behaves either as an annual dying during the first autumn frosts (e.g. in Europe), or as a perennial under subtropical conditions. It is an herb that can reach 50 cm in height, the alternate leaves are 2-7 cm long, flower heads are 6-15 mm in diameter and are bright yellow, fruits are achenes of 1-2 mm long. Its yellow flower heads produce small seeds, which are distributed by moving waters, or rarely by birds. Seeds remain viable for 1-2 years. Stems can produce roots at the nodes, allowing the plant to reproduce vegetatively. It is a pioneer plant of bare, wet and nutrient-rich soils. The spread of this plant appears to be relatively slow in California.

C. coronopifolia prefers moist habitats, including salt and freshwater marshes, wetlands and vernal pools. It most commonly invades disturbed sites, but can spread into undisturbed sites as well.

The plant is considered to able to build up dense populations that crowd out native vegetation. Nevertheless, in California, the state wide impact of C. coronopifolia was assessed to be limited by the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC). The species is considered an “agricultural weed” or “environmental weed” by the Global Compendium of weeds.

Considering the wide distribution of this species in the EPPO region, and the limited impacts reported, the EPPO Secretariat decided not to include it in the EPPO Alert List.


A Global Compendium of Weeds.
Alaska Natural Heritage Program (2005) Non-native plant species of Alaska: Common brassbuttons, Cotula coronopifolia L. Environment and Natural Resources Institute, University of Alaska - Anchorage.
Delivering Invasive Alien Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE) Database. http://www.europe-aliens.org/
NOBANIS - Network on Invasive Alien Species.
Sanz Elorza M, Dana Sànchez ED, Sobrina Vesperinas E Eds (2004) Atlas de las plantas alóctonas invasoras en España. Dirección General para la Biodiversidad. Madrid, p. 130.
Tutin et al. (1964-1980) Flora Europaea. 5 Vol. Cambridge University Press. http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/FE/fe.html
USDA Germplams Resources Information Network – Cotula coronopifolia
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