Acaena ×ovina A.Cunn.

Sheep's Burr

in Field, Geog. Mem. New South Wales 358 (1825) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Erect or ascending perennial herb (11–)25–60 cm high; branches moderately pubescent with spreading or appressed hairs. Leaves 11–29-foliolate, narrowly obovate to oblanceolate, mostly 8–12 cm long; leaflets obovate, the largest 5–22 mm long, 3–10 mm wide, margins deeply lobed or serrate, flat or recurved, upper surface moderately appressed-pilose, lower surface densely and evenly appressed-pilose; stipules linear, lanceolate or triangular, 1–5 mm long. Inflorescence an interrupted cylindric spike, or rarely in heads with several flower clusters below; peduncles pilose; sepals 4–5; stamens 3–4(–5), dark purple; style 1. Fruiting hypanthia ovoid, not ribbed, glabrous or pilose; spines 18–35, unequal, 3–6 spines 2–4 mm long, 15–30 spines 0.5–2 mm long, not thickened at base. Flowers and fruits Sep.–Apr.

CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HFE, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuF, NIS, OtP, SnM, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, Wim. Also WA (?introduced), SA, Qld, NSW, Tas. Naturalized in New Zealand. Largely co-extensive with other spicate Victorian Acaena species.

Apparently a hybrid between Acaena agnipila and A. echinata (Orchard 2018). Orchard (1969) recognized 2 varieties- var. ovina (glabrous fruit) and var. velutina (pilose fruit), not formally distinguished here. Both fruit forms have been recorded for Victoria.

Source: Jeanes, J.A.; Jobson, P.C. (1996). Rosaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-06-14

Orchard, A.E. (1969). Revision of the Acaena ovina A.Cunn. (Rosaceae) complex in Australia., Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 93: 91-109.

Orchard, A.E. (2018). How many spicate species of Acaena are there in Australia?, Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter 174: 12-14.

Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Rosales
family Rosaceae
genus Acaena
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Acaena ×ovina in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Acaena ×ovina in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Highlands-Far East present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory