Aphanes australis Rydb.

Parsley Piert

Aphanes australis plant

Family - Rosaceae

Habit - Annual forb.

Stems - Spreading to ascending, to 10 cm, 4-angled, often reddish tinged, pubescent with silky hairs.

Aphanes australis stemThumb and fingertips left for scale.

Leaves - Alternate, short-petiolate to nearly sessile. Stipules leaflike, the pair at each node fused in the basal half into a cup and also usually fused to the base of the leaf, palmately several-lobed to about the middle. Leaf blades 3-6 mm long, broadly obovate to nearly circular in outline, deeply 3-lobed, the lobes each 3-lobed or 3-toothed.

Aphanes australis leafLeaf.

Inflorescences - Small clusters opposite the leaves, mostly hidden by the fused stipules.

Flowers - Perigynous, the hypanthium urn-shaped, 0.5-0.7 mm long at flowering, elongating to about 1.5 mm at fruiting, hairy. Sepals 4, less than 0.5 mm long, triangular, hairy, especially along the margins, persistent at fruiting. Petals absent. Stamen 1. Pistil 1 per flower. Ovary superior, nearly filling the hypanthium. Style 1, attached toward the base of the ovary, the stigma disc-shaped.

Aphanes australis flowersArrow shows flowers.

Fruits - Achenes, 1.0-1.2 mm long, elliptic in outline, yellowish brown, glabrous.

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Disturbed sites, cultivated ground, waste ground.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - To date, this little species has only been recorded from two Missouri counties, both along the southern border of the state. It may be found in more counties in the future. Its U.S. range is mostly in the southeast, and is is a common agricultural weed in some areas.

The plant is easy to identify becasue of its creeping stems, divided leaves, and clusters of tiny, green flowers. The plant is in the rose family but does not resemble any other plant in that family.

Photographs taken in Auburn, AL., 2-19-05.