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Cotula squalida

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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, 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 Cudweed, 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, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, 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:
10 centimetres tall
Mountains, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, 4 petals
Yellow, solitary, button-like flowers.
The fruit is a tiny achene (seed).
A mat-forming perennial plant with fern-like, oval, green leaves.
Other Names:
Brass Buttons, Button Grass, Grey-leaved Cotula, Rough Buttonweed, Rough Cotula.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Cotula squalida, commonly known as rough cotula or rough buttonweed, is a small perennial herb that is native to Australia. It is known for its small, yellow, button-like flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. The plant can be found in a variety of habitats, including coastal dunes, rocky outcroppings, and open woodlands. It is considered a weed in some areas due to its ability to spread rapidly and outcompete native plants.


Cotula squalida, also known as the grey-leaved Cotula, is a small, low-growing plant native to the coastal regions of Australia and New Zealand. Despite its diminutive size, this plant has a lot to offer in terms of both ornamental value and medicinal properties.

Description and Habitat

Cotula squalida is a perennial plant that grows to a height of only 5-10 cm, but can spread up to 50 cm. It has grey-green, finely divided leaves that form a dense mat. The plant produces small yellow or white flowers in late spring or early summer.

Cotula squalida prefers to grow in sandy soils and is commonly found in coastal areas, including sand dunes and rocky shorelines. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate salt spray, making it an ideal choice for coastal gardens.

Ornamental Value

Cotula squalida is an excellent choice for rock gardens, borders, and ground cover. Its dense mat of grey-green leaves provides an attractive contrast to other plants, and its small yellow or white flowers add a splash of color to the landscape. This plant also works well in containers and hanging baskets.

Cotula squalida is an easy-to-grow plant that requires very little maintenance. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil but can tolerate some shade and drought. It is also resistant to pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance choice for gardeners.

Medicinal Properties

Cotula squalida has a long history of use in traditional medicine. The plant contains a variety of compounds that have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It has been used to treat a range of ailments, including skin infections, wounds, and digestive issues.

Recent research has shown that Cotula squalida contains compounds that may have potential in the treatment of cancer. One study found that extracts from the plant inhibited the growth of cancer cells in vitro, suggesting that it may have anti-cancer properties.

More Information

The traditional use of Cotula squalida in medicine dates back hundreds of years. The indigenous people of Australia and New Zealand used the plant to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions, respiratory problems, and gastrointestinal issues.

The plant contains a range of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, triterpenoids, and sesquiterpene lactones. These compounds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which may help explain its traditional use in treating infections and inflammatory conditions.

In addition to its traditional medicinal uses, Cotula squalida has also been studied for its potential in modern medicine. Researchers have identified several compounds in the plant that have anti-cancer properties. One study found that a compound called cotulin inhibited the growth of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that it may have potential as an anti-cancer agent.

Cotula squalida has also been studied for its potential as an insecticide. Researchers have found that extracts from the plant have insecticidal properties and may be effective against a range of insect pests, including mosquitoes and houseflies.

Despite its potential medicinal and insecticidal properties, Cotula squalida is not widely used in modern medicine or agriculture. However, ongoing research into the plant's bioactive compounds may lead to new applications in the future.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal properties, Cotula squalida also has cultural significance. In Maori culture, the plant is known as Pakuratahi, and its leaves were used in traditional weaving. The plant is also known as "brass buttons" in Australia, where it is used as a traditional remedy for insect bites.

Cotula squalida is not only a valuable plant for its ornamental and medicinal properties, but it also has ecological importance. The plant is adapted to coastal environments, which can be harsh and exposed to salt spray. Its low-growing habit and dense mat of leaves help to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, making it an important component of coastal ecosystems.

In addition to its ecological benefits, Cotula squalida is also a valuable plant for pollinators. Its small flowers provide a source of nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies, and other insects, making it an important food source in coastal habitats.

Cotula squalida is also a great plant for gardeners who are looking to create low-maintenance and sustainable landscapes. Its ability to tolerate drought, salt spray, and poor soil makes it an ideal choice for xeriscaping and other sustainable gardening practices.

Furthermore, Cotula squalida is an excellent plant for interplanting with other species. Its low-growing habit and dense mat of leaves can help to suppress weeds and reduce the need for herbicides. This can help to create more diverse and sustainable ecosystems that are better able to support biodiversity and promote ecological resilience.

In summary, Cotula squalida is a valuable plant that has many uses and benefits. Whether you are a gardener looking for a low-maintenance plant, a traditional healer looking for medicinal remedies, or an ecologist looking to restore coastal habitats, Cotula squalida is definitely a plant to consider. With its hardy nature, ornamental value, and ecological benefits, it is a plant that is sure to make a positive impact in many different contexts.