Ontario Weeds: Common groundsel

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Flowers and Fruit
  7. Habitat
  8. Similar Species
  9. Related Links

Name: Common groundsel, Senecio vulgaris L.,

Other Names: séneçon vulgaire, séneçon commun

Family: Composite or Aster Family (Compositae

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Common groundsel.

Common groundsel.

Common groundsel.

Common groundsel.

Stems & Roots: Stems erect or somewhat reclining, often branched, 10-60cm (4-24in.) high, smooth, somewhat fleshy; leaves alternate (1 per node), slightly fleshy, variable in shape from smooth and almost without teeth to shallowly or deeply lobed, with the lobes finely to coarsely and irregularly toothed; lower leaves stalked, upper ones stalkless and often clasping the stem.

Flowers & Fruit: Flower heads stalked in clusters at the end of stems and branches; each flower head 5-10mm (1/5-2/5in.) across, cylindrical or conic, without ray florets; disk florets yellowish; involucral bracts (surrounding each flower head) small, overlapping, usually with distinct black tips; seeds small, short-hairy, with a prominent, white, hairy pappus. Flowers from June to late autumn.

Habitat: Common groundsel occurs throughout Ontario, often very abundantly, in gardens, row crops, waste places and roadsides.

Similar Species: Young plants can be distinguished by their irregularly lobed and toothed leaves without white milky juice; older plants by their small conic-cylindrical flower heads with black-tipped involucral bracts around the base of each head.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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