Emilia sonchifolia, also known as lilac tasselflower or cupid's shaving brush is tropical flowering species of tasselflower and in the sunflower family. It is widespread in tropical regions around the world, apparently native to Asia (China, India, Southeast Asia, etc.) and naturalized in Africa, Australia, the Americas, and various oceanic islands.
Emilia sonchifolia is a branching, perennial herb up to 40 cm (15.5 in) tall. Leaves are lyrate-pinnatilobed, up to 10 cm (4 in) long, sometimes becoming purplish as they get old. One plant can produce several pink or purplish flower heads.
Herbs, annual; root vertical. Stems erect or ascending, gray-green, 25-40 cm tall, rather curved, usually branching from base, glabrous or sparsely pilose. Leaves thick, lower leaves crowded, abaxially dark green, often becoming purple, lyrate-pinnatilobed, 5-10 × 2.5-6.5 cm; terminal lobe large, broadly ovate-triangular, margin irregularly dentate, apex obtuse or subrounded; lateral lobes usually paired, oblong or oblong-lanceolate, both surfaces crisped-hairy, margin shallowly and bluntly dentate, apex obtuse or acute. Median stem leaves lax, sessile, smaller, ovate-lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, basally hastately semiamplexicaul, margin entire or irregularly denticulate, apically acute; upper leaves few, linear. Capitula pendulous before anthesis, erect later, usually 2-5, in terminal lax corymbs; peduncles 2.5-5 cm, slender, not bracteate. Involucres cylindric, 6-12 × 1.5-4 mm; phyllaries 8 or 9, yellow-green, oblong-linear or linear, nearly equaling florets, glabrous, margin narrowly scarious, apically acuminate. Florets pink or purplish; corolla ca. 9 mm, with slender tube and dilated limb, deeply 5-lobed. Achenes cylindric, 3-4 mm, puberulent between ribs, 5-ribbed. Pappus of capillary-like bristles, snow white, ca. 8 mm. Fl. Jul-Oct. 2n = 10, 20.
Weedy slopes, roadsides, field margins, sandy places; sea level to 2100 m. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [pantropical].
It is a medicinal herb in Chinese, called ye xia hong. It is one among the "Ten Sacred Flowers of Kerala State in India, collectively known as Dasapushpam. Emilia sonchifolia is used medicinally as an antiphlogistic and for dysentery.
Emilia sonchifolia contains tumorigenic pyrrolizidine alkaloids.