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Cosmos caudatus Kunth

Family Name: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Synonyms: Cosmos bipinnatus, Bidens caudatus
Common Name: Wild Cosmos, Cosmos, Ulam Raja, Pelampong, 帝皇乌蓝
Full Sun Moderate Water Bee-Attracting Plant Butterfly-Attracting Plant Fruit or Vegetable Ornamental Flowers Herbaceous Plant


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 Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.3 m to 2 m


Native Distribution Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, South America
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Annual or short-lived perennial herb up to 3 m tall.
Foliage Triangular to ovate leaves (10-20 cm long) occur in pairs. They are finely divided into many lance-shaped segments. 
Flowers Compound flowers are composed of 8 purple or red, petal-like ray florets and many yellowish-green disk florets in the center.
Fruits Dry fruits are known as achenes. Each fruit is 1-3 cm in length, approximately linear with 4 sides, and contains 1 seed.
Habitat Normally found at an altitude from 0–2,600 m and often occurs in disturbed sites.
Cultivation The plant’s life cycle ends after it flowers and sets seed. To prolong the plant’s lifespan, discourage flowering by periodically removing some of the leaves and immediately cutting any floral stalks that emerge. Plant in soil with good drainage.
Etymology The genus name “Cosmos” comes from a Greek word that means order or ornaments. The species epithet “caudatus” is derived from a Latin word that means having a tail.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Leaves)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Consumed as a vegetable in Malay cuisine. The leaves may be consumed raw in salads. Young shoots have been described as tasting like mangoes. It contains more than 20 types of antioxidants (Shui et al 2005).)
Medicinal ( The roots contain 4 types of antifungal compounds (Fuzzati et al 2000). In Southeast Asia, it is also used to increase circulation of the blood in traditional medicine.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Compound (Tripinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Pinnately Lobed / Pinnatifid
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse, Truncate / Square
Typical Foliar Area Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Pink, Purple, White
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Ligulate / Strap-shaped
Flower Size - Remarks 2.5 cm
Inflorescence Type Head / Capitulum

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Indehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Achene

Image Repository



Master ID 29768
Species ID 4077
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: 23 February 2022.