creeping cinderella weed

Calyptocarpus vialis
dense infestation in bushland (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
infestation growing in a lawn (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
creeping habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
leaves and flower-heads (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of paired leaves sparsely covered in short hairs (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
leaf undersides with longer hairs (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
hairy stems and clusters of immature and mature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of cluster of mature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
seedlings (Photo: Sheldon Navie)

A short-lived or long-lived herbaceous plant with weak sprawling stems growing up to 60 cm long. Its paired leaves (1-6 cm long) are egg-shaped in outline or somewhat triangular in shape with sparsely toothed margins. Its stems and leaves are loosely covered in short close-lying hairs. Its small yellow flower-heads (5-10 mm across) are borne singly in the upper leaf forks. Its 'seeds' (2-4 mm long) are topped with a pair of spreading awns 1-3 mm long.

Common names 
Also known as: creeping cinderella weed, creeping cinderella, prostrate lawn-flower, sprawling horseweed, straggler daisy,
Flowering time 
Winter - Spring
Native to Mexico, Central America (i.e. El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras) and Cuba.
Council declaration 
SIL – Special Investigation List
Known distribution 

This creeping introduced plant is a widespread weed of the warmer parts of eastern Australia (i.e. in eastern Queensland and some parts of north-eastern New South Wales).


A weed of lawns, gardens, parks, footpaths, orchards, roadsides, railway lines, riparian vegetation, coastal environs, and rainforest gaps and margins.


A short-lived (i.e. annual) or long-lived (i.e. perennial) herbaceous plant with sprawling stems growing up to 60 cm long.

Impact and control methods 

"Creeping Cinderella weed (Calyptocarpus vialis) is also often found growing in urban bushland, forest understoreys, coastal environs and riparian areas in south-eastern Queensland. For example, in the understorey of microphyll vine forests and riverine rainforests in sub-coastal areas, and in littoral forests and along sandy beaches in coastal districts and on offshore islands. Hence, it is also a minor environmental weed in the region.

This species is also reported to be invasive in the understorey of riparian forests in central Queensland and has recently also spread into northern New South Wales."

Stem and leaves 

"Stems are green or reddish in colour and rough to touch (i.e. scabrous). These stems are regularly branched and sometimes produce roots where the joints (i.e. nodes) come into contact with the soil (i.e. adventitious roots).

The leaves are oppositely arranged along the stems and borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) 5-15 mm long. These leaves (10-60 mm long and 8-40 mm wide) are egg-shaped in outline (i.e. ovate) to somewhat triangular in shape. They have sparsely toothed (i.e. crenate or serrate) margins and pointed tips (i.e. acute apices). The leaf surfaces and margins are loosely covered in short close-lying hairs (i.e. they are appressed pubescent)."

Flowers and fruits 

"The small yellow flower-heads (i.e. capitula) resemble tiny 'daisies' (5-10 mm across) and are borne singly on long stalks (i.e. peduncles) in the upper leaf forks (i.e. axils). These flower-heads have 10-20 tiny tubular yellow flowers (i.e. tubular or disc florets) in the centre, which are surrounded by 3-8 toothed yellow 'petals' (i.e. ray florets) 1.5-5 mm long. Their bases are enclosed by 3-5 green narrow bracts (i.e. involucral bracts) 5-10 mm long.

The 'seeds' (i.e. achenes or cypselae) are flattened or slightly four-angled with surfaces that are warty in texture (i.e. tuberculate). These 'seeds' (2-4 mm long) are topped with a pair of spreading awns 1-3 mm long. They are green when young, but turn brown as they mature."

Reproduction and dispersal 

This species reproduces mainly by seed, which readily become attached to clothing, animals and vehicles. They may also be dispersed in soil, water, agricultural produce and garden waste.

Similar species 

"Creeping Cinderella weed (Calyptocarpus vialis) is very similar to Cinderella weed (Synedrella nodiflora), which is mainly found in northern Queensland. These two species can be distinguished by the following differences:

■Creeping Cinderella weed (Calyptocarpus vialis) has weak sprawling stems growing up to 60 cm long. Its small yellow flower-heads are usually borne singly on long stalks (i.e. peduncles) in the upper leaf forks (i.e. axils).

■Cinderella weed (Synedrella nodiflora) has rigid upright stems growing up to 90 cm tall. Its small yellow flower-heads are borne singly or in small clusters on very short stalks (i.e. they are sub-sessile) in the upper leaf forks (i.e. axils)."