Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Sphagneticola trilobata


Sphagneticola trilobata (L.) Pruski

Family Name: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Synonyms: Complaya trilobata, Wedelia carnosa, Acanthospermum trilobatum, Acanthospermum trilobata, Wedelia trilobata
Common Name: Yellow Creeping Daisy, Singapore Daisy, Creeping Ox-eye, Trailing Daisy, Rabbit's Paw, 地锦花, 穿地龙, 三裂蟛蜞菊


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Creeper, Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 0.2 m to 0.7 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 2 m


Native Distribution Central America, South America
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Herbaceous creeping perennial shrub, up to 70cm height, forms dense mounded mats over ground.
Foliage Leaves glossy green, paler green below, with simple coarse white hairs, serrated margins, sometimes with a pair of lateral lobes.
Stems Rounded, rooting at nodes, stolons up to 2m in length or more.
Flowers Borne on solitary or branched inflorescences, ray florets yellow (8-13 per head), central disc florets yellow and tubular, flowers freely produced throughout the year in warm tropics.
Fruit 3-cornered nuts, very small (3 - 5mm), with corky covering and topped by short scales, mature from green to brown, dispersed by water. Plant seldom sets fertile seed under local conditions.
Others - Plant Morphology Note: Avoid using prunings to make garden compost, as live and dead plant matter contains defensive allelopathic compounds that inhibit growth and germination of other plants. Regarded as invasive in tropics due to fast growth and difficulty of eradication. Listed amongst top 100 of world's worst alien species by IUCN. Escaped from cultivation and has become naturalized in many parts of the world, forming dense infestations in disturbed sites. All plant parts contain ivalin, toxic to mammals when ingested and known to result in aborted fetuses in farm animals.Ethymology: Genus epithet 'Sphagneticola' means 'Sphagnum dweller', a possible reference to the plant being able to survive in waterlogged or flooded sites. Species epithet 'trilobata' describes the 3-lobed leaves. Popularly known as Singapore Daisy (or Singapore Weed) in Australia, although plant is native to tropical America.
Cultivation Prefers full sun but also performs well in shady conditions. Very adaptable to wide range of soil types, including nutrient-poor sand, saline soils, swampy or waterlogged areas, and bare limestone. Tolerant of dry periods and periodic innudation. Fast growth may smother nearby groundcovers, so plant should be pruned back regularly. Easily propagated by stem cuttings and stolons.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb or Spice)
Others: Paste of mashed leaves applied to joints to relieve arthritis and rheumatic symptoms. Crushed leaves used as poultice or drunk as tea to treat colds, flu, fever and inflammation. Caution: Should not be consumed by pregnant women, due to possibilty of miscarriage.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses Coastal, General, Flowerbed / Border, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Golden Garden, Naturalistic Garden
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion, Invasive / Potentially Invasive
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Listed by IUCN as amongst top 100 of the most invasive alien species, considered as an infestation in several parts of world. All plant parts contain ivalin, toxic to mammals, can cause aborted fetuses when ingested. Plant compounds are allelopathic and have negative impact on growth and health of nearby plants.
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Species is highly adaptable and tolerant of various soil types.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly-Attracting, Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth), Insects (Bee))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow, Drought Tolerant, Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Acidic (low pH) Soils, Alkaline high pH Soils, Shallow Media, Disease / Pest Resistant
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Stolon / Runner
Propagation Method Remarks Plant may not set viable seed in some regions.
Planting Distance 0 to 1


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Hairy / Hirsute, Scaly, Raised / Sunken Veins
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oval)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Palmately Lobed, Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Cuneate
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous, Runner / Stolon
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Symmetry Radial
Inflorescence Type Head / Capitulum
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Indehiscent Dry Fruit , Achene

Image Repository



Master ID 19267
Species ID 3350
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 31 May 2022.