Groundsel

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Groundsel

Scientific name: Senecio vulgaris
Groundsel is a 'weed' of cultivated and disturbed ground like field edges, roadside verges and waste ground. It has clusters of yellow flowers that turn fluffy and white as the plant seeds.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 40cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

Groundsel is an annual weed of cultivated or disturbed ground, popping up along field edges, roadside verges and on waste ground. Branched stems lead to open clusters of yellow flowers that can be seen most of the year, and turn to white, fluffy seed heads. It is these seed heads that led to its Latin name, Senecio, derived from the word for 'old man' - pull the white, fluffy seeds from the flower head and they leave behind a bare, dotted 'scalp'.

How to identify

Groundsel has long, lobed and ragged leaves that are stalked low down the stem, but unstalked further up the stem. The stems branch to clusters of small, yellow flower heads that look like green and yellow tubes; as the plant seeds, these turn fluffy and white.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Like other members of the daisy family, Groundsel has 'composite' flower heads, which are made up of lots of tiny flowers grouped together.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of buttercups in your lawn or nettles near your compost heap, to see who comes to visit? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.