Common Groundsel or Old-Man-in-the-Spring, Senecio vulgarise
Asteraceae or Sunflower Family


Humble plant, about a foot and a half tall. Stems hollow. Leaves alternate on the stem,intricately lobed with pointed lobes on the lobes. Bases of leaves clasp the stems, as at lo wer right. Flowerheads in small clusters. Each head contains many tightly packed narrow yellow flowers. There are usually no petal-like ray flowers. Each flowerhead surrounded with long and short green bracts, outermost with conspicuous black tips. Fruits resemble those of dandelions. Blooms in the spring. The common name, old-man-in-the-spring probably refers to its white dandelion-like fruiting puffs.

A world-wide weed of temperate areas, probably native to Europe and northern Africa. In North America it occurs in all fifty states, and all Canadian provinces and territories except Nunavut. In Wildwood look for it in typical weedy habitats, sunny places along the bikeway and Wildwood Drive. Also common along lower Grove Avenue just outside the Park.

No other plant in Wildwood has the combination of intricate leaves and long yellow flower clusters. Horseweed and fireweed have similar flowerheads, but the flowers are white, and the leaves are quite different.

Leaves   Stem

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