Senecio vulgaris L., Sp. Pl. 867 1753. (syn: Erigeron senecio Sch.Bip. ex Webb & Berthel.; Senecio vulgari-humilis Batt. & Trab.);
Common name: Common Groundsel, Ragwort, Grimsel, Grinsel, Grundsel, Simson, Birdseed, Chickenweed, Old-man-of-the-spring, Squaw Weed, Grundy Swallow, Ground Glutton, Common Butterweed

Standing only between 4 and 16 inches (10 to 41 cm) tall, bright florets mostly hidden by the characteristic bract giving it the appearance of never opening flowers and with a life span of 5–6 weeks, the self-fertilizing Senecio vulgaris lives humbly among and occasionally under the other weeds and is easy not to notice.
Leaves and stems
Leaves of Senecio vulgaris grow directly from the stem, sessile or lacking their own stem (petiole), alternating in direction along the length of the plant, two rounded lobes at the base of the stem (auriculate) and sub-clasping above. Leaves are pinnately lobed and +2.4 inches (61 mm) long and 1 inch (25 mm) wide and get smaller as up the plant. Leaves are covered sparsely with soft, smooth, fine hairs. Lobes typically sharp to rounded saw-toothed.[3][4]
The hollow[5] succulent stems branch at the tops and from the base.[3] Stems and leaves can both host the Cinerarea leaf rust.[6]
Open clusters of 8 to 10 small cylinder shaped rayless yellow flower heads ¼ to ½ inch (6 to 13 mm) with a highly conspicuous ring of black tipped bracts at the base of the inflorescence as is characteristic of many members of the genus Senecio.[3] There is a radiate form of Senecio Vulgaris, which is the result of cross pollination with the closely related Senecio Squalidus.[7]
The name for the genus Senecio is probably derived from Senex (an old man), in reference to its downy head of seeds; “the flower of this herb hath white hair and when the wind bloweth it away, then it appeareth like a bald-headed man”[8] and like its family, flowers of Senecio vulgaris are succeeded by downy globed heads of seed. The seeds are achene, include a pappus[9] and become sticky when wet.[10] Laboratory tests have suggested maximum seed scattering distances of 2.1 and 3.2 yd (1.9 and 2.9 m) at wind speeds of 6.8 and 10.2 mph (10.9 and 16.4 km/h) respectively (affected by plant height)[6] suggests that it was more than wind that spread these groundsel seeds throughout the world.
The average weight of 1000 seeds is 0.21 gram (2,200,000 seeds per pound) and experienced a 100% germination success before drying and storage and an 87% germination success after drying and 3 years of cool dry storage.[11] In simple models for seed emergence prediction, soil thermal time did not predict the timing and extent of seedling emergence as well as hydrothermal time[12][13] (warm rain).
The root system consists of a shallow taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.[5]
Groundsel acts as a host for the fungus that causes black root rot in peas,[6] alfalfa, soybeans, carrots, tomatoes, red clover, peanuts, cucurbits, cotton, citrus, chickpeas, and several ornamental flowering plants; a list of flowering plants that can host their own fungus as well.
(From Wikipedia 0n 22.5.13)

From California, USA:


From Kashmir:

Asteraceae Fortnight Part 1-Radiate Heads: Senecio vulgaris from Kashmir and California-GS97: Attachments (5). 1 post by 1 author.
Senecio vulgaris, a common weed in Kashmir, photographed from Kashmir (a, b and c) and California.


Wild Plant For ID : Asteraceae : California : 19NOV14 : AK-43 : 6 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (2)
Wild plant with tiny yellow flowers seen in Fremont on 28/9/14.

Could this be Senecio vulgaris, again ref to … post from California?

efi page on Senecio vulgaris 

can be Senecio vulgaris as posted by …

Thanks … Perhaps … can validate.


Senecio vulgaris L.: 5 very high res. images.
Location: Central Park, Romford, UK
Altitude: 40 m.
Date: 10 February 2022
Habit : Wild

Yes …
It has an interesting story. The plant is very common around Kashmir University Campus. Way back in 1968, a few days before the exams we were given a survey of plants flowering around that time (March beginning). This plant was displayed as Sonchus, so this is how we remembered it and incidentally it came in our university exam. where we were supposed to describe it and then identify genus using FBI. I described it from the plant recording absence of ray florets, but when it came to identifying genus I was confuse and simply  wrote Sonchus. But it was on my mind when I joined research and noticed that this plant is Senecio vulgaris which had never been reported from Kashmir. and I published it as new record for Kashmir in 1970. I am sharing the pdf
1 attachment- pdf.

Oh, that is a very interesting experience. Thank you … for sharing your experience.
I hope many members will enjoy this !

Last year i also post Some pics of Senecio vulgaris….(Jacobae vulgaris)
It is very common in kashmir.

They photos are good for S. vulgaris. Note that it can hybridise with various other members of the genus – I’ve seen what appear to be hybrids with S. vernalis (given only S. vernalis was around with it). Generally it seems to pick up short rays if the other parent is rayed, and the involucre shape may change. In Flora of Turkey it says it can be biennial, and I’ve seen rather large forms in Antalya that I presume may be such.


Senecio vulgaris from Brampton Canada-GS27112022-1: 4 very high res. images.
Senecio vulgaris, a common weed along roadsides, Brampton Canada. 

Yes, appears close to images at—l/ar/asteraceae/asteroideae/senecioneae/senecio/senecio-vulgaris


ID Of The Herb belonging to Asteraceae is requested: 3 images.
Kindly help in identifying the herb whose photos are attached. It was growing wild in a field in Srinagar. It was photographed today only (5.3.23).

Senecio vulgaris, a common Spring weed in Kashmir. An interesting story relating to this plant. The plant is very common in KU Campus, especially Orchards behind Botanical Garden. We were taught in our M. Sc. Class that it is Sonchus plant, and it came in our final exam also to describe and identify the genus from the Key. I had the habit of describing flowers from original plant, and as such I described the capitulum with disc florets (as ray florets are highly reduced in this species), but when using the key it did not fit Sonchus (in which there are only ray florets), but I and other friends wrote Sonchus, as there was no other option, but this bugged me a lot, and when I joined research, this was the first plant I investigated and found that species has never been reported from Kashmir, and published as among first records from Kashmir in 1972. I am attaching the paper.
1 attachment

Thanks for  the ID and the very interesting anecdote and copy of paper. That students were forced to identify a plant  with only disc florets as Sonchus a plant with only ray florets speaks volumes about how much more we have to do to improve our educational institutions. In your paper you have referred to it  along with Trifolium dubium as an introduced species (which has become invasive like Conyza).  Conyza canadensis has even been given a vernacular name “Shael e loet” by the locals.

Some fun facts about the herb:

The common English name for this herb is Groundsel. According to Collins English Dictionary the name origin is from Old English gund pus and swelgan to swallow or absorb. In olden days before the discovery of antiseptics and antibiotics a poultice made from the herb was apparently effective for treating suppurating wounds.
It is also called ragwort because its leaves look like torn cloth (rags).

The origin of its botanical name has been described in “A Modern Herbal” by Mrs. M. Grieve in the following words Senecio, derived from Senex (an old man), in reference to its downy head of seeds; ‘the flower of this herb hath white hair and when the wind bloweth it away, then it appeareth like a bald-headed man.”. The English word “Senile” has the same origin.

One more photo taken on 22 March. The downy head of seeds seen in the photo gives it its common English name old-man-in-spring and is also the reason for its botanical generic name derived from senex meaning an old man in Latin.



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