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Spineless Acaena

Acaena inermis

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:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
5 centimetres tall
Gardens, riversides, roadsides, wasteland.

Variable in colour, no petals
Globular, petalless flowers.
Globular fruits usually spiny but often without spines.
A mat-forming perennial garden escape species. The pinnate leaves are purplish and feathery. Leaflets are toothed.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


The spineless acaena, also known as the Inermis or Purple-leaved piripiri, is a small perennial plant that is native to New Zealand. It belongs to the rose family and is known for its attractive purple or bronze foliage and small, pink or white flowers. Acaena inermis is a low-growing plant that spreads quickly and is often used as a groundcover in gardens. It is easy to grow and is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and climates. The plant is drought-tolerant and thrives in full sun to partial shade. Acaena inermis is generally hardy and low maintenance, but it can be prone to pests such as slugs and snails. The plant is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and to determine the safety and effectiveness of using it medicinally.


Spineless Acaena, also known as Acaena inermis, is a low-growing perennial plant that is native to New Zealand. It is a popular choice for ground cover in gardens and landscaping due to its attractive, small leaves and delicate, pinkish-purple flowers.

One of the most notable characteristics of Spineless Acaena is its lack of spines or prickles. This makes it a great option for gardens or walkways where barefoot traffic is expected, as well as for use in areas where children or pets may be present.

In terms of growth habit, Spineless Acaena is a creeping plant that spreads quickly and easily through underground runners. This makes it ideal for filling in large areas or for use as a ground cover. It also makes it a good option for erosion control on slopes and banks.

When it comes to care and maintenance, Spineless Acaena is relatively low-maintenance. It prefers well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade, but can tolerate a wide range of soil types and light conditions. It is drought-tolerant and can survive in hot, dry conditions. However, it should be watered regularly in extreme heat.

Spineless Acaena is also relatively resistant to pests and diseases. It is deer resistant, and it is not commonly affected by any major pests or diseases.

In addition to its attractive appearance and low-maintenance nature, Spineless Acaena is also a good option for gardeners looking to attract pollinators and beneficial insects. The flowers are a great source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, and the leaves provide a food source for ladybugs and other beneficial insects.

Another great feature of Spineless Acaena is its ability to thrive in both coastal and inland climates. It is tolerant of salt spray and wind, making it an ideal choice for gardens near the ocean. It can also tolerate frost and cold temperatures, making it a great option for gardens in colder climates.

When it comes to planting Spineless Acaena, it is best to do so in the spring or fall. The plant can be propagated by dividing the runners or by seed. It is also available for purchase as a nursery grown plant. When planting, make sure to space the plants about 12 inches apart to allow room for the runners to spread.

When it comes to maintenance, Spineless Acaena requires very little upkeep. It is best to prune it back in the spring to keep it neat and tidy. If the plant becomes too dense, you can also remove some of the runners to control its spread.

In terms of companion plants, Spineless Acaena pairs well with a variety of other ground covers and perennials. Some great options include creeping thyme, sedum, and lamium. It also works well as an edging plant along walkways, paths, or flower beds.

Another great aspect of Spineless Acaena is its versatility in terms of design. It can be used in a variety of garden styles and themes, from traditional to modern. Its delicate leaves and soft pinkish-purple flowers make it a great addition to a cottage garden, while its low-growing habit and ground cover properties make it a great option for a more contemporary landscape design.

It can also be used in a variety of garden settings, from rock gardens to naturalized areas to raised beds and container gardens. It can also be used as a lawn alternative, providing a low-maintenance and visually appealing alternative to traditional turf grass.

In terms of color and texture, Spineless Acaena adds a soft, delicate touch to any garden. Its small, glossy leaves are a rich green color, while its delicate flowers add a touch of pinkish-purple to the landscape. The combination of these colors creates a visually appealing contrast that adds depth and interest to any garden.

Another great aspect of Spineless Acaena is its versatility in terms of design. It can be used in a variety of garden styles and themes, from traditional to modern. Its delicate leaves and soft pinkish-purple flowers make it a great addition to a cottage garden, while its low-growing habit and ground cover properties make it a great option for a more contemporary landscape design.

Overall, Spineless Acaena is a great option for gardeners looking for a low-maintenance ground cover that is versatile, attractive, and beneficial for the environment. Its lack of spines, tolerance of a wide range of conditions, and its ability to attract pollinators and beneficial insects make it a versatile and attractive addition to any garden. Whether you're looking to cover a large area or simply edge a flower bed, Spineless Acaena is an excellent choice.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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