Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Common Groundsel - Senecio vulgaris   L.
Members of Asteraceae:
Only member of Senecio in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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DistributionWidespread across the state, but with gaps. Curiously absent from the northern Mountains and most of the Coastal Plain. Found in several places on the Outer Banks and other barrier islands. First collected as a weed at Biltmore Estate (Buncombe County) in 1897.

Native of Eurasia; in N.A. throughout.
AbundanceUncommon to frequent in the Mountains and Piedmont; rare elsewhere. Seemingly increasing in recent decades.
HabitatWaste areas, vacant lots, campus weed, lawn and garden weed, sidewalks, nursery weed, orchard, roadsides, fallow fields.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting March-July.
IdentificationCommon Groundsel grows to a foot (to 1.5 feet) tall, with a few to many stalked leaves. The blades are elliptical or broader at the outer end, with the margins irregularly cut. The heads are terminal, 2.5-4.5 mm across, all disc flowers (no rays), yellow, soon turning into a showy white pappus. Note that in the older days (i.e., RAB 1968), this was one of many species in the genus Senecio. Nearly all others have been moved to the genus Packera, as those all have ray florets.
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpUPL link
USACE-empFACU link
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B.A. SorrieWhispering Pines, weed in mown field, March 2021. MoorePhoto_non_natural
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