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Small Cudweed

Filago minima

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Treasureflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White African Daisy, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
25 centimetres tall
Beaches, fields, grassland, heathland, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland.

Yellow, no petals
Clusters of minute 3 to 6 flowers.
The fruit is an achene with a pappus at one end. In fruit from August to October.
An erect annual flower that has greyish-green foliage. The leaves are linear and alternate on opposite sides of the stem. Leaf blade reach a maximum of 1cm in length. The leaves are covered in white woolly hairs.
Other Names:
Field Filago, Filewort, Lesser Cottonweed, Small Cottonweed.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Filago minima, also known as lesser cottonweed or small cottonweed, is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family. It is native to Europe and can be found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, pastures, and roadside verges. The plant has hairy, green leaves and small, yellow flowers with a brown center that bloom in the spring and summer. The flowers are surrounded by a ring of small, hairy, green bracts that resemble leaves. The plant has a hairy, branching stem and grows to be about 20 cm tall. It is a popular garden plant and is often grown for its attractive flowers and ability to tolerate dry conditions. Lesser cottonweed is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems and skin conditions.


Small Cudweed (Filago minima), also known as Little Cudweed, is a tiny, yet fascinating wildflower that is found in many parts of the world. This herbaceous plant belongs to the aster family and is considered a weed by many gardeners and farmers, as it can quickly spread and take over large areas.

One of the most notable characteristics of Small Cudweed is its small size. This plant is often only a few centimeters tall, and its leaves and flowers are incredibly tiny, making it easy to miss if you're not paying close attention. Despite its size, this plant is incredibly hardy and can grow in a wide variety of soils, including sandy and rocky ones.

Small Cudweed is native to Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America and Australia. It is most commonly found in disturbed or waste ground, but it can also grow in meadows, pastures, and along roadsides.

The leaves of this plant are small and narrow, often only a few millimeters wide. They are typically a pale green color and are covered in tiny hairs, giving them a soft, velvety appearance. The flowers of Small Cudweed are also small, usually only a few millimeters in diameter, and are usually a yellow-green color. They grow in clusters at the tops of the stems and bloom in the spring and summer.

Despite its reputation as a weed, Small Cudweed does have some medicinal properties. Historically, the plant has been used as a remedy for various ailments, including coughs, colds, and indigestion. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for treating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Small Cudweed may be small, but it is a fascinating and versatile wildflower that is found in many parts of the world. While it may be considered a weed by some, it has a long history of use for medicinal purposes and is an important part of the ecosystem in many areas. Whether you're a botanist, a gardener, or just someone who enjoys exploring the outdoors, Small Cudweed is definitely worth checking out!

In addition to its medicinal properties, Small Cudweed is also an important source of food and shelter for many species of wildlife. Its small flowers are a source of nectar for a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The seeds and leaves of the plant are also eaten by birds, such as sparrows and finches, and small mammals, such as mice and voles.

Furthermore, the dense, cushion-like growth habit of Small Cudweed provides important shelter and nesting sites for many species of wildlife. This is particularly important in disturbed or barren habitats, where other forms of vegetation are scarce.

Another interesting fact about Small Cudweed is that it has a close relationship with fungi. This relationship, known as mycorrhiza, involves a mutually beneficial exchange of nutrients between the plant and the fungi. The fungi receive carbohydrates from the plant, while the plant receives essential nutrients, such as phosphorous, from the fungi. This relationship allows the plant to grow in otherwise nutrient-poor soils, making it an important pioneer species in many habitats.

In terms of its conservation status, Small Cudweed is considered to be of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is due to its wide distribution and ability to adapt to a variety of habitats. However, it is worth noting that in some areas, the populations of this plant may be declining due to habitat loss and degradation.

Small Cudweed is a fascinating and important wildflower that plays a vital role in many ecosystems. Whether you're looking at it from a medicinal, ecological, or historical perspective, it is definitely a plant that is worth learning more about!

Aside from its ecological and medicinal importance, Small Cudweed also has a long cultural history. In many parts of Europe, the plant has been used for centuries in traditional folklore and magic. For example, it was once believed that carrying a small bunch of the plant could protect against evil spirits and bring good luck.

In addition, Small Cudweed has also been used in a variety of crafts and textiles. The plant's soft, downy leaves and stems have been used to stuff pillows and mattresses, and its seeds have been used as a filling for pincushions and toys. The plant's tiny, delicate flowers have also been used to decorate hats and clothing, as well as to create intricate designs in needlework.

In modern times, Small Cudweed has found its way into the world of art and photography. Its tiny size and intricate details make it an interesting subject for close-up photography, and its delicate beauty has inspired many artists to create paintings and drawings.

Despite its reputation as a weed, Small Cudweed is a plant that is full of surprises. Whether you're looking at it from a cultural, ecological, or artistic perspective, there is no doubt that it is a plant that is well worth exploring!

In conclusion, Small Cudweed may be small, but it is a fascinating and versatile wildflower that has a long history of use and cultural significance. Whether you're a botanist, a gardener, an artist, or just someone who loves the outdoors, Small Cudweed is a plant that is definitely worth discovering!

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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