E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Senecio sylvaticus L.
wood groundsel (woodland ragwort)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Val George  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #74804)

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Distribution of Senecio sylvaticus
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Species Information

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Annual herb from a more or less evident taproot; stems erect, solitary, branched, 15-80 cm tall.
Basal leaves smaller than the stem leaves, usually deciduous by flowering time; stem leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate, 2-12 cm long, 0.4-4 cm wide, more or less pinnately cut, irregularly toothed, stalked near the base, becoming unstalked upwards, sparsely to densely long-hairy or sometimes nearly glabrous.
Heads with ray and disk flowers, several to numerous heads on sparsely to densely long-hairy stalks in an open inflorescence; involucres 5-7 mm tall; involucral bracts lanceolate, black-tipped, sparsely long-hairy and sometimes glandular-hairy at the tips; bracteoles minute, inconspicuous or lacking; ray flowers yellow, inconspicuous, mostly 1-2 mm long; disk flowers yellow.
Achenes oblong, faintly ribbed, white stiff-hairy; pappus of white hairlike bristles.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry roadsides, clearcuts and disturbed areas in the lowland zone; frequent in coastal and SW BC; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Senecio sylvaticus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 5 325 713
Slope Gradient (%) 0 14 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 208 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(113), ICH(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

Shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, European forb introduced to Pacific and At1antic North America. Occurs in maritime to submaritime climates on very moist to wet, nitrogen-rich soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Scattered to plentiful, occasionally dominant, in non-forested communities on cutover, fire-disturbed, or continuously disturbed sites, where it inhabits exposed mineral soils. Often associated with Anaphalis margaritacea, Hieraciumalbiflorum, Hypochaeris radicata, Holcus lanatus, and Mycelis muralis. A nitrophytic species characteristic of early-seral communities.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References