Australia > All Weeds > Yellow Burweed

Yellow Burweed

Amsinckia species

Origin: North and South America.


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Mature plant. Image by Mojo Rabbit

Alternative Name(s): Amsinckia, Fiddleneck.

Family: Boraginaceae.

Known Hazards: None known.

Habitat: Dry open slopes and flats, often in disturbed soil.

Edibility Rating: 1 (1-5)

Medicinal Rating: 0 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics: Annual herb to 1 m high. Stems vary from hairless, to hairy with stiff hairs only, to hairy with stiff hairs and minute hairs. Leaves lanceolate, covered with bristly hairs; basal leaves in a rosette, to 20 cm long, with a short stalk; stem leaves reducing in size towards flowerhead and stem clasping. Nutlets with wart-like projections or wrinkled, 2–3.5 mm long.
Flowers: Surrounded by bristly sepals that are 2–5 mm long, linear-lanceolate and united at the base only. Flower tube 5–10 mm long. Flowers spring.The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by Y-shaped cotyledons; yellow flowers in caterpillar-like spikes; trumpet-shaped flowers hairless or with 5 hairy projections closing the throat, evenly lobed at the end of the flower tube, anthers not projecting from the tube and on short filaments; fruit consisting of 4 hard brown to black nutlets (each nutlet contains one seed).

Dispersal: Spread by nutlets, mostly while within the bristly sepals.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:Leaves; Seed. Fresh juicy shoots. No more details are given. Seed - raw. The parched seed is ground into a powder then made into cakes and eaten without being cooked. If this species is like most other members of the family Boraginaceae, the seed is likely to ripen over a period of time and individual seeds fall from the plant when they are ripe. This will make harvesting any quantity of seed very fiddly and time consuming.

Medicinal Uses

None known

Other Uses

None known

Notes: Widespread weed of cultivation and disturbed land, particularly in sandy soils. Plants flower sequentially, producing fruit over a long period, usually dying by early summer. Introduced to Australia in the mid 1800s; probably transported from North America in hay.Yellow Burweed is difficult to separate into individual species, there is inconsistent variation in flower length, colour, constriction in throat of flower and position of anthers.


Flower detail by Wikispecies

Growth habit in California. Image by Eco Heathen


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