Bachelor’s Buttons – A swathe of yellow


A giant spread of Bachelor's buttons at Kaituna Lagoon.

A giant spread of Bachelor’s buttons at Kaituna Lagoon.

There’s no missing the tiny wetland plant, bachelor’s buttons when it’s in full flower; it turns heads as its dramatic golden show spreads its way across low-lying areas around Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.


Bachelor’s buttons (Cotula coronopifolia), is known by a host of common names – brass buttons, mud-disk, yellow-buttons and  water buttons. It is native to South Africa but it has a wide spread along beaches, tidal flats and estuaries around the world.


Shown here at Kaituna Lagoon, Bachelor’s buttons, produces a mass of tiny, yellow, button-like flowers held on slender stalks above the creeping, hairless succulent stem and fleshy green leaves.


They prefer muddy, anoxic wetlands and brackish water and are very salt tolerant. The plant has fat, fleshy leaves that store water during times of saline inundation.


A carpet of Mimulus repens and Cotula coronopifolia.

A carpet of Mimulus repens and Cotula coronopifolia.

The plant is quite strong smelling and its hermaphrodite flowers (having both male and female organs), are pollinated by insects.


A brassy gold dye can be obtained from the whole plant.




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