Five-petalled Daisies

Gallant Soldier Shaggy Soldier Gallant Soldier Black-jack

What are they?

The compound heads of small yellow florets and outer ring of white petals show these plants to be members of the daisy and dandelion family - the Asteraceae. However, these plants have a greatly reduced number of petals than is typical of daisies and usually have just five petals, or at least less than ten. These are small, 'weedy' annuals, typically less than 50cm tall. The name 'Gallant Soldier' originated as a play on words from the scientific name of the plant.

Where are they found?

These plants are likely to be found on tilled ground in gardens, allotments and other disturbed places.

Identification

The identification of these species is fairly straight forward, although confirmation of the Galinsoga species is best done by studying the tiny, scale-like bracts that are found in the flowerhead, in the spaces between the tiny, yellow florets. If the flowers already have seeds present, the feathery scales at the top of the seed - called the pappus - can be also be used for identification.



Gallant Soldier      Galinsoga parviflora

Introduced from South America. Scattered here and there on disturbed ground, especially in urban habitats and on sandier soils; also frequent in some areas as an arable weed. Flowers May to October. Leaves and stems with only a scattering of short hairs. Tiny scales in the flowerhead are three-pointed towards their tips. Pappus scales on the seed tops have fringing hairs and blunt tips.

Gallant Soldier Gallant Soldier Gallant Soldier Gallant Soldier
Habit
Habit
Flowerhead
Leaf
Gallant Soldier Gallant Soldier Gallant Soldier
Stem
Flowerhead bract
Pappus scales


Shaggy Soldier      Galinsoga quadriradiata

Introduced from South America. Scattered here and there on disturbed ground, especially in urban habitats and on sandier soils. Generally less common than Gallant Soldier. Flowers May to October. Leaves and stems usually with an obvious coat of whitish hairs. Tiny scales in the flowerhead taper to a single point at their tips. Pappus scales on the seed tops have slender, long-pointed tips.

Shaggy Soldier Shaggy Soldier Shaggy Soldier Shaggy Soldier
Habit
Flowerheads
Flowerhead
Leaf
Shaggy Soldier Shaggy Soldier Shaggy Soldier
Stem
Flowerhead bract
Pappus scales


Black-jack      Bidens pilosa

Originally from South America but now widely introduced in warmer parts of the world. Formerly occurred as a rare introduction from bird seed or wool waste but there have been no recent records. Flowers June to September. Flowerheads to 2cm in diameter, typically with five to eight, white petals. Leaves very variable, often three-parted but may also be simple or up to seven-parted.

Black-jack Black-jack Black-jack Black-jack
Habit
Flowerhead
Phyllaries
Leaf