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

Senecio vulgaris L.
common groundsel (old-man-in-the-Spring)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Kevin Newell  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #1891)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Senecio vulgaris
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Annual or biennial herb with a more or less evident taproot; stems erect, solitary, branched, glabrous to sparingly long-hairy, 10-55 cm tall.
Basal leaves oblanceolate to elliptic, stalked, 0.8-3 cm long, 0.3-1 cm wide, coarsely toothed or lobed, nearly glabrous to long-hairy, soon deciduous; stem leaves larger, 2-10 cm long, 0.5-4.5 cm wide, oblanceolate, coarsely toothed to more often pinnately cut, nearly glabrous to long-hairy, not greatly reduced upwards, with ear-like lobes, these clasping at the bases.
Heads discoid, several to numerous on glabrous to long-hairy stalks in an open inflorescence; involucres 5-8 mm tall; involucral bracts lanceolate, green, black-tipped, glabrous, margins translucent, hairy at the tips; bracteoles numerous, conspicuous, black-tipped; discoid; disk flowers yellow.
Achenes oblong, faintly ribbed, bristly-hairy; pappus of white hairlike bristles.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry roadsides, disturbed areas and gardens; common in WC and SW BC, rare elsewhere in S BC; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Senecio vulgaris

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) 15 940 1990
Slope Gradient (%) 0 25 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
150 207 350
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 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(7), ESSF(5), IDF(2), PP(1), SBS(3)

Ecological Indicator Information

Shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, European forb introduced trans­continentally. 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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References