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Common Groundsel

Senecio vulgaris

Common Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris, photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in a weed-filled yard in Phoenix, Arizona, March 2010.

ANNUAL: Medium-sized annual weed of spring time in the Sonoran Desert. Few plants exceed ½ meter in height with a number of stems branching from base and stout taproot.

FLOWERS: Numerous yellow-tipped flower heads surrounded by tall phyllaries (bracts). These phyllaries also have conspicuous black tips. Opening February to May.

LEAVES: Elyptic to elongate leaves are coarsely toothed along their margins which are also wavy. Leaves are dark green and mostly smooth but young leaves may have longish pubescence.

RANGE: This is a plant of mostly disturbed ground with plenty of moisture and as such is frequent around gardens and agricultural operations. In the Sonoran Desert proper it is infrequent in riparian habitats. It is native to Eurasia.

FRUIT: Small seeds topped with a crown of fine capillary awns that aid wind dispersal.

UNARMED. Lacks spines/thorns.

Asteraceae -- Sunflower Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010