Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Golden Ragwort - Packera aurea   (L.) A. Love & D. Love
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Packera with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(L.) A. Love & D. Love
DistributionMountains and Piedmont; absent from the Sandhills proper and the remainder of the Coastal Plain. Amazingly, this species is found in all southeastern VA counties, yet it has not yet been found in a single county in the NC Coastal Plain!

Lab. to Man., south to northern FL and OK. Generally absent on the Coastal Plain south of VA.
AbundanceFrequent to common, and can be locally abundant, across the Mountains and most of the Piedmont; rare to uncommon in the northeastern Piedmont, with no records yet east of Granville and Wake counties. Can occur in very dense patches of hundreds to thousands of plants.
HabitatWet to perennially moist soils of streamheads, creek margins, swamp forests, bottomlands, and montane seepage slopes.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late March - early June.
IdentificationUnlike most of our ragworts, Golden Ragwort has heart-shaped basal leaves (not narrowly elliptical or dissected) on long stalks. Stem leaves, however, are narrowly elliptical and dissected, with a rather cordate tip. Only Serpentine Ragwort (P. serpenticola) has similarly cordate basal leaves, but they are densely tomentose (vs. glabrous). The flowers are similar to others in the genus, with numerous heads that are golden-yellow in color. A large stand in a bottomland or swampy area when in bloom can turn the herb layer a bright golden color!
Taxonomic CommentsFormerly Senecio aureus.

Other Common Name(s)Golden Groundsel
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieSwampy ecotone of creek, S of Dr. Sorrell Road, Apr 2008. AnsonPhoto_natural

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