Emilia sonchifolia is an interesting garden weed!

Emilia sonchifolia (Cupid’s Shaving Brush, Lilac Tasselflower)

Budding Emilia sonchifoliaWe’re just blessed to have Cupid’s Shaving Brush growing in our garden.

A free-of-charge gorgeous plant to enjoy and delight, isn’t that wonderful?

Emilia sonchifolia or Cupid’s Shaving Brush is one among the Ten Sacred Flowers of Kerala State in India, collectively known as Dasapushpam.

Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :

  • Botanical Name: Emilia sonchifolia (syn.: Emilia cass, Pithosillum cass).
  • Common Name: Flowering Emilia sonchifolia (Cupid's Shaving Brush, Lilac Tasselflower), 11 Sept. 2013Cupid’s Shaving Brush, Lilac Tasselflower.
  • Family name: Asteraceae/Compositae (Aster Family).
  • Etymology: The genus Emilia, from French word, Emilie and from Latin Aemilia, meaning fern.
  • Origin: Native to Asia, namely China, India and Southeast Asia. It is naturalised in Africa, Australia, the Americas and various oceanic islands.
  • Plant type: A tropical perennial flowering plant.
  • Features: Macro shot on Emilia sonchifolia's flowerEmilia sonchifolia is species belonging to the genus Emilia that consists of about 115 species.
    A tropical flowering perennial herb that is fast growing and reaches a height of 40 cm.
    Leaves are thick, lyrate-pinnatilobed, up to 10 cm long, lower leaves crowded, abaxially dark green, often becoming purple, up to 10 cm long and sometimes becoming purplish as they get old.Stems are grey-green, usually branching from base, erect or ascending, 25-40 cm tall. One plant can produce several pink or purplish florets.
    Closeup on the beautiful Emilia sonchifolia (Cupid's Shaving Brush, Lilac Tasselflower), 3 Sept. 2013Flowers are hermaphrodite and pollinated by insects. The plant is self-fertile.
  • Culture (Care): Emilia sonchifolia grows easily with least maintenance.
    Light: Best in full sun, though can tolerate semi-shade.
    Moisture: Moderate water needs. It prefers moist soil. Water regularly for optimum growth.
    Soil: Not particular but best in a mix of sandy, loamy and clayey soils as well as well-drained soil.
    Others: Prune the plant if needed to keep it tidy. May be an invasive garden weed if left unattended. Feed it once monthly with a balanced liquid fertiliser for foliage plants. Generally free from serious garden pests and diseases. However, do watch out for slugs.
    For subtropical and temperate regions: Hardiness: USDA Zone 8-11. Emilia sonchifolia or Lilac Tasselflower is half hardy and is frost tender. Flowers are hermaphrodite and pollinated by insects. The plant is self-fertile.
    You can sow the seeds during the early spring in a greenhouse and plant them out after the last expected frosts. The seeds can also be sown outdoors in situ in the middle of spring.
  • Propagation: Flowering Emilia sonchifolia (Cupid's Shaving Brush, Lilac Tasselflower), 11 Sept. 2013Best to propagate by sowing seeds.
  • Usage: Emilia sonchifolia or Cupid’s Shaving Brush has many uses. Most ideal for container planting in pots or grown in the ground in garden beds.
    It  is a medicinal herb in China and the Chinese call it Ye xia hong.
    Also, it is used as a traditional medicine as an antiphlogistic, an agent to reduce inflammation and for dysentery.

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