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Grimsel Senecio vulgaris

Previously known as:

  • Jacobaea vulgaris
  • Senecio gaffatensis
  • Senecio semperflorens
  • Senecio taeneriffae
Phonetic Spelling
sen-NEESH-shee-oh vul-GAIR-iss
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Common groundsel is a winter annual weed in the Asteraceae (daisy) family, is referred to as a summer annual, yet this plant can germinate in spring, summer, or fall. Native to Europe, North Africa and temperate Asia, it is believed to have arrived in North America mixed with grain that was brought by settlers. The common name comes from the Anglo-Saxon word groundeswelge, translating to 'ground swallower' which describes how quickly this weedy annual can spread.  

Common groundsel is most common in cool, moist conditions and can be found growing in ornamental and vegetable gardens as well as in forage and row crops. It is also found in disturbed locations such as roadsides, waste sites and cracks in pavement or sidewalks.  

In milder climates or in overwintering structures, plants can survive outdoors in winter. Plants have distinctive lobed leaves and yellow flowers. Seedlings can flower when less than 2 inches tall, but may grow to 18 inches. Seeds are wind-dispersed and have little to no dormancy, thus one can have multiple generations per year.  It is believed that a plant can produce up to a million seeds in one season.  

Flowers can mature to produce seeds even after being hand weeded. If possible, do not let plants go to seed. With new transplants, inspect liners and pots and eradicate new infestations before they spread. Common groundsel is well controlled  by pre-emergence broadleaf herbicides labeled for use.  Unfortunately, there are no pre-emergence chemicals available for home use. Tilling the soil in both the fall and early spring will provide some control as well as covering the area is a thick layer of coarse mulch.  That will prevent the seedlings from growing.  

One of only two species that are consumed by the cinnabar moth caterpillar.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: A rust disease has been accidentally introduced from Europe that may impact populations.

Composting with other yard debris can lead to the plant spreading.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Senecio.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#weeds#moths#weedy#winter annual weed#caterpillars#frost tolerant#wind dispersed seeds#self-seeding#cool season weed#poor soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#host plant#heat intolerant#winter annual#self-fertile#shade intolerant#poisonous if ingested
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#weeds#moths#weedy#winter annual weed#caterpillars#frost tolerant#wind dispersed seeds#self-seeding#cool season weed#poor soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#host plant#heat intolerant#winter annual#self-fertile#shade intolerant#poisonous if ingested
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Senecio
    Species:
    vulgaris L.
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Macronesia, Europe, China, Arabian Peninsula, North Africa
    Distribution:
    Senecio vulgaris is found in roadsides, cracks in pavement or edges of walls, in cultivated fields and in sunny gardens, lawns and along edges of yards and other unmanaged places.
    Wildlife Value:
    Caterpillars of many butterfly and moth species consume the leaves.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Weed
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Slender and ridged, the seeds have a tuft of silky white hairs at the tip.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Head
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The small, disk shaped dandelion-like flower heads are numerous. They appear in terminal clusters and appear at the tips of the branching stems and upper leaf axils. May have a drooping appearance while developing. They have no petals.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Black
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The alternately arranged leaves have deeply lobed margins, and are irregularly toothed. They may be sparsely hairy, although most are hairless. The upper leaves are directly attached to the stem, while the lower leaves have a short petiole. Seedlings have long, narrow cotyledons with smooth margins. Basel leaves are typically purplish on the underside.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Typically have one stem that may be branched. The purple stems are hollow and fleshy.
  • Landscape:
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Chronically delayed toxicity. Some include lethargy, vomiting, central nervous system signs of hepatic failure.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    .5% up to 1.25% of dry weight of plant.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Leaves
    Roots
    Stems