Alice Springs Flora •

Alice Springs FloraAlice Springs Flora Index Acacia ligulata Annual Yellowtop Bougainvillea Apple Bush Burdekin Plum Carob Tree (Ceratonia siliqa) Cattle Bush Desert Cotton (Aerva javanica) Desert Oak Eremophila Wildberry Feijoa sellowiana Flannel Cudweed Fork-leaf Corkwood Ghost Gum Golden Everlasting Kurrajong Lemon-flowered Gum MacDonnell’s Desert Fuchsia Native Bluebell Native Tomato Needlewood Olive Tree Perennial Yellow Top Rat’s Tail River Red Gum Inland River Red Gum Rosy Dock Round-leaved Mallee Scurvy Grass Silky Eremophila Stemodia viscosa Striped Mintbush Sturt’s Desert Pea Sturt’s Desert Rose Tangled Leschenaultia Tar Vine Weeping Bottlebrush White Cedar Yellow Billybutton Yellow-keeled Swainsona Yellow Oleander

Aerva javanica has a number of common names including Desert Cotton and Kapok Bush. It has a distribution across much of Africa (including Madagscar), south-west and south of Asia, and now is widespread across much of northern Australia and is found in Alice Springs, Central Australia.

Aerva javanica is a herbaceous, multi-stemmed, soft-wooded plant, and often has an erect growth habit, up to a height of about 1.6 metres. Growing across the top end of Australia from Queensland, through the Northern Territory to Western Australia, they have also been documented in parts of New South Wales and Central Australia.

In Alice Springs, it is said to be easily spread from the gravel pits north of town, if fill is being used around Alice Springs.

Kapok Bush (Aerva javanica), Alice Springs NT
Desert Cotton (Aerva javanica), Alice Springs NT
Kapok Bush (Aerva javanica), Alice Springs NT
Desert Cotton (Aerva javanica), Alice Springs NT
Kapok Bush (Aerva javanica), Alice Springs NT
Desert Cotton (Aerva javanica), Alice Springs NT
Kapok Bush (Aerva javanica), Alice Springs NT
Desert Cotton (Aerva javanica), Alice Springs NT

More information under Flora | Kapok Bush (Aerva javanica)


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Tracheophyta
  • Subphylum: Angiospermae
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Amaranthaceae
  • Subfamily: Amaranthoideae
  • Genus: Aerva
  • Species: Aerva javanica

Footnote & References

  1. Many thanks for ID confirmation to members of Alice Springs Field Naturalist Club, Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/alicefieldnats
  2. Kapok Bush (Aerva javanica), iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/taxa/196994-Aerva-javanica
  3. Aerva javanica (Burm.f.) Juss. ex Schult., Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://id.biodiversity.org.au/node/apni/2890404
  4. Aerva javanica (Burm. f.) Juss. ex Schult., Weeds of Australia, https://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/aerva_javanica.htm
  5. Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). Florabase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Accessed 25 May 2023, https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/2646
  6. Aerva javanica Schult., New South Wales Flora Online, PlantNET, https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Aerva~javanica
  7. Aerva javanica, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerva_javanica

Alice Springs FloraAlice Springs Flora Index Acacia ligulata Annual Yellowtop Bougainvillea Apple Bush Burdekin Plum Carob Tree (Ceratonia siliqa) Cattle Bush Desert Cotton (Aerva javanica) Desert Oak Eremophila Wildberry Feijoa sellowiana Flannel Cudweed Fork-leaf Corkwood Ghost Gum Golden Everlasting Kurrajong Lemon-flowered Gum MacDonnell’s Desert Fuchsia Native Bluebell Native Tomato Needlewood Olive Tree Perennial Yellow Top Rat’s Tail River Red Gum Inland River Red Gum Rosy Dock Round-leaved Mallee Scurvy Grass Silky Eremophila Stemodia viscosa Striped Mintbush Sturt’s Desert Pea Sturt’s Desert Rose Tangled Leschenaultia Tar Vine Weeping Bottlebrush White Cedar Yellow Billybutton Yellow-keeled Swainsona Yellow Oleander

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