Senecio vulgaris (groundsel)

groundsel leaves

Family: Asteraceae

Groundsel Senecio vulgaris

Groundsel or old-man-in-the-spring (Senecio vulgaris) can reach a height of 10 to 30 centimetres. Its yellow flowers appear from early spring until the first hard frost. This annual or biennial plant is poisonous.

Senecio vulgaris

Senecio vulgaris colonises fields, building sites, railway embankments, gravel paths, roadsides, verges, parks and is often found in gardens. It can also grow between pavement joints, making it perfectly adapted to survive in urban areas.


Its native range stretches from Europe to North Africa and India in Asia. In other regions, such as North America, South America and Australia, it is considered to be naturalised (distribution map).

Senecio vulgaris between paving stones
Senecio vulgaris can grow between paving stones.
Groundsel in a gravel path
Groundsel, red dead-nettle and pineappleweed in a gravel path.
Groundsel on a wall
Groundsel infested with mildew on a wall.
Groundsel seeds
Groundsel seeds hang from small “umbrellas” and are spread by the wind.