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Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris L.)

Also known as old-man-in-the-Spring.

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Common Groundsel
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A common weedy plant, native to Europe and introduced widely in North America, where it is more common in the northeast.

Range - Expand

Introduced or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.


Prefers full to partial sun, mesic conditions, and rich soil, although it tolerates poorer soils and urban conditions.

In North America, mostly limited to anthropogenic habitats. Frequently found in gardens and other cultivated ground, roadsides, vacant lots, and weedy patches in urban areas. Can grow in mulch beds.

Life Cycle

Senecio vulgaris is a short-lived annual whose life-cycle is so short that several or more generations are completed each year. It can grow at any time of year, and is more dependent on a range of conditions than the specific time of year.

It is typically more abundant in spring and fall, but can take advantage of warm winter temperatures as well as cooler summer temperatures.

Often able to complete its life cycle in infrequently-weeded gardens and landscaping.


Historically used for medicinal purposes.

Numerous Senecio species, both native and introduced, occur in North America, but many of the native species have limited distributions and most are only found in the West.

The genus Packera is closely related, and has numerous species, all native to North America.

Senecio vulgaris (Common Groundsel) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Senecio vulgaris (Common Groundsel) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Senecio vulgaris | Go Botany (About This Site)

Senecio vulgaris | CABI Invasive Species Compendium (About This Site)

Senecio vulgaris | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Senecio vulgaris | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Senecio vulgaris | Flora of North America (About This Site)

Senecio vulgaris | Missouri Plants (About This Site)

Common Groundsel | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)

Senecio vulgaris (Common Groundsel) | Minnesota Wildflowers (About This Site)

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Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.
Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.
Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.
Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.
Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.
Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.
Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.