Spermacoce alata Aubl.

Etymology Genus Seed point; referring to the capsular fruits sitting on pointy calyxes
Species Winged; reference to plant unknown
Family Rubiaceae
Synonyms Spermacoce latifolia Aubl., Borreria latifolia (Aubl.) K.Schum., Tardavel latifolia (Aubl.) Standl.
Common Names Oval Leaf False Buttonweed
Status Exotic: Naturalised
Form Herb
Native Distribution Neotropics


Spermacoce alata is a very common weed of lawns. The stem is squarish and the leaves broad. It bears some resemblance to Spermacoce ocymoides but the leaves appear to be wider, with slightly larger flowers and fewer flowers per cluster.

Interesting Facts:

The Oval Leaf False Buttonweed is naturalised pantropically (eFloras, 2008). It appears that both the name Spermacoce latifolia and S. alata have been chosed interchangeably by many authors, but I chose the latter as it has been used by some authoritative sites.

Oval Leaf False Buttonweed on an unmaintained lawn.

Broad leaves.

Leaf underside.

Stipules with multiple projections.

Flowers may be white to light purple.

Developing fruits.


eFloras. (2008) Spermacoce alata Aublet. Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge. http://www.efloras.org/. Accessed on 13-Oct-2014.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2014-10-12 / Modified: 2019-08-27