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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Kevin Newell     (Photo ID #1891)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Senecio vulgaris
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


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)
940 15 1990
Slope Gradient (%)
25 0 70

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

207 150 350
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 0 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and Range

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

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia