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Common Groundsel

Senecio vulgaris

Common Name: Common groundsel (a.k.a. Groundsel, Grimsel, Simson, Bird-seed, Ragwort)
Scientific Name: Senecio vulgaris
Family: Asteraceae
Growth Form: Herb
Native Range: Eurasia
Alien Range: The northern United States and Canada, as far south and California, and parts of Texas
Introduction: Common groundsel was introduced as an ornamental and escaped from cultivation.  Reproduction is by seed. 
Description: ·Leaves:  Alternate, fleshy, deeply lobed, irregularly toothed, sparsely hairy.  Upper leaves sessile, lower leaves taper to petiole

·Stem: Erect, branched, 10-50 cm (4-20 in.) tall.  Smooth.

·Flowers:  Yellow.  Head 1 cm (0.5 in.) in diameter, made of multiple disc-shaped flowers.  Bracts black at tip.  Appear April to October. 

·Fruit: Reddish brown achene, 2-4 mm (0.1 in.) ridged with some hair at margins.  White, puffy, dandelion-like seedhead. 

Threats: Common groundsel is a weed that is most prevalent in nursery crops, vineyards, greenhouses, and other cultivated areas.  There are several strains that have developed resistance to commonly used herbicides such as triazine and dinitroaniline. 
Fun Facts: Common groundsel contains pyrrolizidine alkyloids that have the ability to cause liver damage when consumed by horses and cattle, but small herbivores are resistant. 
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