Erechtites hieraciifolius (L.) Raf. ex DC.

Last updated: 27 May 2015

Scientific Name

Erechtites hieraciifolius (L.) Raf. ex DC.


Erechtites hieracifolia var. intermedius Fernald, Erechtites hieraciifolius var. praealtus (Raf.) Fernald [1]

Vernacular Name

English Pilewort, Malayan ground­sel, fireweed [2], American burnweed, American fireweed, burnweed, true fireweed [3]
Indonesia Sintrong, bolostrok, jambrong (Sunda) [2]
Thailand Phakkat-nokkut (Central) [2]
Philippines Hagalpohansaw (Bisaya); doyan-doyan (Bukidnon); salimbego (Marinduque) [2]

Geographical Distributions

Erechtites hieraciifolius is native to the more humid parts of North and South America. It is adventitious in Central Europe, Hawaii and Southeast Asia. It does not occur in Africa, the Near East, Aus­tralia or the Pacific islands. [2]

E. hieracifolia thrives in sun­ny, rather moist localities, on roadsides, in recent clearings and on waste sites, often becoming com­mon but tolerable weeds in estate crop planta­tions. It is among the early colonisers in new­ly cleared areas, especially after burning (fire­weed). It occurs in the lowlands as well as in the mountains up to 2200 m altitude. [2]

Botanical Description

E. hieracifolia comes from the family of Compositae. It is an annual herb that can grow up to 2 m tall.

The leaves are sessile, or if shortly petiolate, are then with conspicuously alate petiole, lance-shaped or oblong­lance-shaped and measuring 3-30 cm x 0.5-7 cm. The lower ones are narrow while the higher ones are broad, and truncate or auricled at the base. The higher ones are coarsely dentate-­pinnately lobed. The peduncle is up to 6 cm long.

The flower head measures 12-15 mm x 6-8 mm. The involucre is 10-12 mm long. The flowers are light yellow. The marginal florets are bi-or pluriseriate.

The one-seeded fruit is about 2.5 mm long. It is brown, entirely white and with 8-12 mm long pappus.


E. hieraciifolius presence and quantity are usually considered indication of very fertile topsoil. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

No documentation.

Traditional Use

No documentation.

Preclinical Data

No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing



Figure 1: The line drawing of E. hieraciifolius [2]


  1. The Plant List. Erechtites hieraciifolius (L.) Raf. ex DC. 2013 ver1.1 [ updated 2013, cited 2015 May 29] Available from
  2. Erechtites hieracifolia (L.) Raf. ex DC In: Siemonsma JS, Piluek K, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 8. Vegetables. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers; 1993.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 91