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Genus Cassinia Family Asteraceae

Description: Perennial shrubs 0.5–2 m high, sometimes up to 8 m, often viscid and/or aromatic.

Leaves simple, exstipulate, entire, mostly linear, non-decurrent, usually with strongly revolute margins and a reflexed mucro at tip.

Inflorescence cymose, paniculate or pseudo-spicate. Flowerheads with involucral bracts, oblong to lanceolate or ovate, hyaline to opaque, usually white, sometimes yellow or ochre, rarely red-brown; receptacle scales (paleae) present; florets all bisexual, corolla white to cream to yellow, rarely red; anthers shortly tailed with an appendage; style branches with papillose apices.

Achenes more or less cylindrical, sometimes longitudinally angled or ribbed, contracted abruptly at the apex and base, lacking a neck; pappus a single ring of short barbellate bristles, shed as a ring.

Photo © ANBG


Distribution and occurrence: World: 40-45 species, confined to south-eastern Australia from Eyre Peninsula in South Australia through much of Victoria and Tasmania, and central to eastern New South Wales and extending into south-east Queensland. Rare C. arcuata in Western Australia.

Most species are multistemmed erect shrubs of 1-2 m high, frequently found in the understorey of dry sclerophyll woodland where they may be locally frequent or dominant.

Text by Louisa Murray
Taxon concept: Orchard, A.E. (2004) A revision of Cassinia (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae) in Australia. 1. Introduction and generic and infrageneric considerations. Australian Systematic Botany 17: 469-481

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Cassinia copensis,    Cassinia decipiens,    Cassinia furtiva,    Cassinia heleniae,    Cassinia hewsoniae,    Cassinia lepschii,    Cassinia maritima,    Cassinia monticola,    Cassinia ochracea,    Cassinia straminea,    Cassinia telfordii,    Cassinia tenuifolia,    Cassinia theresae,    Cassinia thinicola,    Cassinia venusta

 Key to the species 
1Inflorescence a corymb2
Inflorescence a pyramidal panicle13
2Leaves linear, about 1 mm wide3
Leaves lanceolate or ovate or oblong, mostly more than 2 mm wide
                       Back to 1
3Involucral bract tips translucent4
Involucral bract tips opaque
                       Back to 2
4Involucral bracts in parallel rows, longitudinally ranked; stems pale with white, woolly hairsCassinia cunninghamii
Involucral bracts imbricate in alternating rows, not longitudinally ranked; stems reddish or yellow with stiff glandular hairs
                       Back to 3
5Heads ovoid to globose, 5 mm long 3–5 mm wide with 8 or 9 florets; leaves with a prominently raised and pale midrib visible on the under surface especially at the baseCassinia macrocephala
Heads narrow-ovoid, 4 mm long, 2 mm wide, with 5 or 6 florets; leaves with a visible midrib below but neither prominently raised nor conspicuously pale
                       Back to 4
Cassinia compacta
6Involucral bract tips bright yellow or yellow-green; heads densely packed and curved inwards; leaves 5–8 cm long, robust, strongly scabrousCassinia leptocephala
Involucral bract tips white or cream; leaves 3 cm long or less
                       Back to 3
7Involucral bracts in parallel series, longitudinally ranked8
Involucral bracts in alternating series, not longitudinally ranked
                       Back to 6
Cassinia aculeata
8Involucral bracts obtuse, the tip not thickened; florets 5 or 6 per headCassinia uncata
Involucral bracts keeled, the tip thickened and concave on the inner surface, or emarginate when split; florets 9–12 per head
                       Back to 7
Cassinia adunca
9Involucral bract tips translucentCassinia compacta
Involucral bract tips opaque
                       Back to 2
10Involucral bract tips bright yellowCassinia aureonitens
Involucral bract tips white or cream
                       Back to 9
11Leaves broad-ovate, base stem-clasping or cordate, margins toothed especially at apexCassinia denticulata
Leaves lanceolate, base tapered, margins without teeth
                       Back to 10
12Leaves with 3 more or less parallel veins on the lower surface, especially prominent at baseCassinia trinerva
Leaves with only 1 vein prominent on the lower surface
                       Back to 11
Cassinia longifolia
13Leaves linear, c. 1 mm wide14
Leaves lanceolate, ovate or oblong, mostly more than 2 mm wide
                       Back to 1
Cassinia subtropica
14Involucral bract tips opaque15
Involucral bract tips translucent
                       Back to 13
15Stems olive or yellowish and usually with spreading glandular hairs, or resinous; heads with 5 or 6 floretsCassinia quinquefaria
Stems white or pale, with soft woolly hairs; heads with 2–4 florets
                       Back to 14
Cassinia laevis
16Leaves more than 15 mm long; involucral bracts straw-coloured or greenish, not widely spreadingCassinia quinquefaria
Leaves usually less than 10 mm long; involucral bracts deep red or brown, widely spreading
                       Back to 14
17Leaves and stems conspicuously grey or white with woolly hairsCassinia theodori
Leaves glabrous and sticky above, stems inconspicuously woolly
                       Back to 16
Cassinia arcuata

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