Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Eclipta prostrata, False Daisy

False Daisy has small white flower with by ray and disk florets. Note in the photo that the lowers are flat-topped, and the ray flowers have linear petals. Eclipta prostrata False Daisy is an annual or perennial forb/herb plant that is also called Eclipta, Yerba de Tago and Yerba de Tajo. Eclipta prostrata False Daisy has green leaves that may grow up to 5 inches (12.7 cm) long; the leaves are generally opposite and the blades usually lanceolate some linear to narrowly elliptic. Eclipta prostrata False Daisy: plants are low growing, sprawling or ascending; the stems are green and later mature toward reddish or reddish-purple; the roots are adventitious and may establish new plants at the nodes. Eclipta prostrata

Scientific Name: Eclipta prostrata
Common Name: False Daisy

Also called: Eclipta, Yerba de Tago and Yerba de Tajo; (Spanish: Soguilla)

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Eclipta alba, Eclipta alba var. prostrata, Eclipta erecta, Eclipta punctata, Sabazia leiachaenia, Verbesina alba, Verbesina prostrata)

Status: Native

Duration: Annual, or perennial, taproot.

Size: 4 to 20 inches (10-50 cm) tall.

Growth Form: Forb/herb; plants are low growing, sprawling or ascending; the stems are green and later mature toward reddish or reddish-purple; the plants are more or less covered with stiff straight hairs throughout (strigose); the roots are adventitious and may establish new plants at the nodes.

Leaves: Green, up to 5 inches (12.7 cm)long and 1 inch (2.54 cm) wide; the leaves are generally arranged opposite along the stems; leaves blades generally lanceolate some linear to narrowly elliptic; leaves are either sessile or with short-petioles; leaves edges or margins entire or with small teeth.

Flower Color: White, the flower heads are small, flat-topped; heads solitary or in clusters; with both ray (ray flowers with linear petal) and disk florets; flower heads (1 to 3) from upper leaf axils; fruit is a short, brown cypsela without a pappus.

Flowering Season: June to September, may flower year round in wet warm places.

Elevation: Below 3,500 feet (1,066 m) in elevation.

Habitat Preferences: Moist and damp areas, along streams, ditches and ruderale areas.

Recorded Range: All southern states and the eastern half of the United States, Baja California, northern, central and southern Mexico including the Yucatan Peninsula, Costa Rica and southward to Brazil. Introduced in Hawaii and sub-tropical and tropical areas worldwide. Erratic distribution in Arizona, it may be found in the central part of the state, much of western Arizona and in Navajo and Greenly counties.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Eclipta prostrata.

North America species range map for False Daisy, Eclipta prostrata:
North American range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation

North America species range map for False Daisy, Eclipta prostrata:
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: In North America Eclipta prostrata can be weedy or invasive according to the following authoritative sources:

  • Weeds of Kentucky and Adjacent States
  • Weeds of the Northeast
  • Weeds of the United States and Canada.

  • Plants included here may become weedy or invasive.

    Wetland Indicator: In North America Eclipta prostrata has the following wetland designations:
  • Arid West, FAC
  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, FACW;
  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont, FAC;
  • Great Plains, FACW;
  • Midwest, FACW;
  • Northcentral & Northeast, FACW;
  • Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FAC;

  • FAC = Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands
    FACW = Facultative Wetland, usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands

    Threatened/Endangered Information: In North America Eclipta prostrata, Yerba-de-Tago has be listed by the State of New York as Endangered.

    Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown

    Genus Information: In North America there is 1 species and 1 accepted taxa overall for Eclipta. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 9 accepted species names for the Eclipta.

    The genus Eclipta was published in 1771 by Carl Linnaeus.

    In the Southwestern United States, Eclipta prostrata is found in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. No records in Nevada and Utah. Data approximate and may be revised.

    Comments: The interesting classification of plants, and perhaps political designations based on boundaries is evident with False Daisy, treated as a weed by several jurisdictions because of its aggressive growth habits while at the same time listed as an endangered species by the state of New York where a few plants enter the southeast part of the states.

    False Daisy is one of the first plant species to colonize and perhaps dominate disturbed land.

    Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
    Eclipta prostrata flowers and foliage parts may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals in search of food, nectar or cover.

    Special Value to Native bees, Butterflies and Insects
    Eclipta prostrata flowers and plants may be visited by native bees, butterflies and/or insects in search of food, nectar or cover.

    The genus Eclipta (Eclip'ta:) is from the Greek ekleipo meaning “deficient,” and referring to the absence of a pappus.

    The genus Eclipta was published in 1771 by Carl Linnaeus.

    The species epithet prostrata (prostra'ta:) means prostrate.


    Date Profile Completed: 8/11/2012; updated 07/05/2020
    Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960,University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, as Eclipta alba
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 07/05/2020);&display=31
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 07/05/2020).
    David J. Keil 2012, Eclipta prostrata, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=2527, accessed on July 05, 2020.
    John L. Strother, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Eclipta, 1. Eclipta prostrata (Linnaeus) Linnaeus, Mant. Pl. 286. 1771.; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
    FNA 2006, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973; Editors; L.Crumbacher 2011, .AHazelton 2016 from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; (accessed 07/05/2020).
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Eclipta prostrata', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 December 2019, 16:40 UTC, [accessed 5 July 2020]
    Dr. John Hilty; Illinois Wildflowers: Weedy Wildflowers of Illinois [accessed 5 July 2020]
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
    Etymology:Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 07/05/2020)