Groundsel, Common;  Senecio vulgaris

Early bloomer.  Small pincushion flower heads in clusters, leafy stems, feathery bristles on top of the seeds.  Also called Common Butterweed and Old Man in the Spring.

Notes:  Aster (Sunflower) family.  Very common.  The genus Senecio is one of the largest in the world with 2,000 species.  Has been used as an herbal remedy for at least 2,000 years.  It is mentioned by Pliny for toothache.  It is mixed with wine for stomach ache.  Groundsel tea is a purgative and is also used for intestinal problems, as an eye lotion and for chapped hands.  It provides food for canaries.  Caution: Large doses may be carcinogenic.  It probably gets its name from groundsel meaning ground swallower, a reference to its rampant growth.  Senecio is Latin for old man referring to the tufts of white hair on the seeds.

Click on species name below to go to USDA for this plant

Kingdom Plantae -- Plants 
    Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants 
        Superdivision Spermatophyta -- Seed plants 
            Division Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants 
                Class Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons 
                    Subclass Asteridae 
                        Order Asterales 
                            Family Asteraceae -- Aster family 
                                Genus Senecio L. -- ragwort
                                    Species Senecio vulgaris L. -- old-man-in-the-Spring

Groundsel, Common;  Senecio vulgaris
Photo Credit: Oregon State University, Jed Colquhoun photo Collection