Given below are the relevant key characters from Flora of India:
a. Stems not winged —> Sphaeranthus amaranthoides
b. Stems winged:
b-i) wings entire; flower-heads <1 cm across —> S. africanus
b-ii) wings toothed; heads up to 2.5 cm across; leaves single-dentate —> S. senegalensis
In S. indicus, the leaves are double-dentate.


1a. Stems not winged or rarely narrowly winged; glomeruli conical, subsessile, brownish; outer florets not more than 4 ——– 2. Sphaeranthus amaranthoides
b. Stems winged; glomeruli spherical or ovoid, pedunculate, glabrous, white, purple or violet; outer florets more than 4 ——– 2
2a. Wings entire, glomeruli not more than 1 cm across; peduncles glabrous; involucral bracts not ciliate at apex —–1. Sphaeranthus africanus
b. Wings toothed; glomeruli up to 2.5 cm across, peduncles pubescent; involucral bracts ciliate at apex ———3
3a. Leaves double-dentate and with stalked glands —— Sphaeranthus indicus
b. Leaves single dentate and with sessile glands ——– Sphaeranthus senegalensis
(Ref. Flora of India Vol.13-Asteraceae (Inuleae-Vernonieae) By R.K. Hajra et al.1995. BSI, India)

Sphaeranthus africanus L. (Images by Pudji Widodo (ID by Vijayasankar Raman) and Prashant Awale, Inserted by Gurcharan Singh (PLease click links to see details and more images))


Sphaeranthus gomphrenoides O. Hoffm. (Sphaeranthus gomphrenoides (Compositae): New record to Asia with its identity, typification, and distribution– VARSHA V. NIMBALKAR, OSHIN A. SHARMA, MILIND M. GIRDHARI, MILIND M. SARDESAI- Phytotaxa Vol. 514 No. 3: 17 August 2021)

Sphaeranthus indicus L. (Images by Balkar SinghSurajit KoleyDinesh ValkeSatish PhadkePrashant Awale and Shobha Halwe-Chavda (ID by Nidhan Singh), Inserted by Gurcharan Singh (Please click links to see details and more images))


Sphaeranthus senegalensis DC. (Images by Balkar Singh, Inserted by Gurcharan Singh (Please click link to see details)) 




Sphaeranthus species in India:

  1. Sphaeranthus africanus L.
  2. S. amaranthoides Burm.f.
  3. S. indicus L.
  4. S. senegalensis DC.

Karthikeyan, S., Sanjappa, M. and Moorthy, S. 2009. Flowering Plants of India, Dicotyledons, vol-I (Acanthaceae- Avicenniaceae). Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata. pp.277.


Pl. go through Sphaeranthus (‎‎Asteraceae (Compositae)) page with images of species (done by …) in efloraofindia.

If you find any mis-identification, pl. let us know. If anybody can send images of other species of this genera (for incorporation in the website), if any, it will be really nice.

Also, if anybody is interested to take up the activity of inserting images on efloraofindia pages from efloraofindia posts, pl. let us know.