Vascular – Exotic
Dicotyledonous Herbs - Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
A common weed of waste land, pasture, urban areas, and forest margins. Coastal to montane.
The stem and leaf indumentum of oxtongue (Helminthotheca echioides (L.) Holub) has 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-hooked anchor hairs and the hairs of the leaves arise from a conspicuous swollen base. The involucral bracts of the flowers are in two rows, with the five outer involucral bracts ovate to cordate, and the apex of the inner bracts feather-like. Unlike our indigenous oxtongus (Picris spp. ) the achenes of the introduced oxtongue (H. echioides) are dimorphic: the outer achenes, are larger, white, and pilose hairy; the inner shorter, dark-brown and glabrous. In our indigenous oxtongues (Picris spp.) the achenes are never heteromorphic.
Year round in warm climates - otherwise August - May
Present year round in warm climates otherwise October - July
S. Europe, S.W Asia, N. Africa - long known in New Zealand as Picris echioides L.
Reason For Introduction
Life Cycle Comments
Biennial to short-lived perennial. Sometimes annual in harsh conditions.
Exclusively by seed
Dimorphic. Outer achenes are white and larger than the brown inner achenes. Seed is probably long-lived as this species turns up in agricultural grassland soil that has been recently ploughed
Wind dispersed. The seeds also attach to clothing, wool and other fibres
Moderately drought and cold tolerant.