Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Common Groundsel: Senecio vulgaris

cgroundsel3-29.jpg (248086 bytes) Weed Description: A winter or summer annual with lobed leaves, yellow leaves and a white 'puff-ball' seedhead like that of dandelion.  Common groundsel is primarily a weed of landscapes, nursery crops, greenhouses, and occasionally agronomic crops.  It is distributed primarily in the northern United States.

Stems:   Branched, without hairs, ranging from 4 to 20 inches in height.  Stems are capable of rooting at the nodes.

Leaves: Arranged alternately along the stem, usually without hairs but occasionally with a few hairs.  Leaves have deeply lobed margins.

Roots: A taproot and a fibrous root system.

Flowers:  Occur in clusters at the ends of stems.  Individual flowers are approximately 1/2 inch in diameter and are yellow in color.

cgroundsel4-6.jpg (159951 bytes)
cgroundsel11-10b.jpg (127736 bytes) Fruit:  A red to brown achene with soft white hairs that helps in wind dispersal.  Fruit form a 'puff-ball' like that of dandelion.

Identifying Characteristics:   The deeply lobed leaves, yellow flowers, and 'puff-ball' seedhead are all characteristics that help in the identification of common groundsel.