Asteraceae – Senecio-22017-08-16T12:20:46+00:00

   Asteraceae: Sunflower Family – Senecio Tribe: Senecio

The Sunflower family is a very large family with over 25,000 members.  Botanists subdivide the family into a number of tribes of which 14 are represented in Monterey County, one of these, the Heliantheae or Sunflower tribe, being further broken down into subtribes of which 9 are represented in Monterey  County. The Senecio tribe comprises a mixture of obviously daisy-like flowers and others with discoid or disciform heads (i.e. without or with only minute ray flowers) which might not immediately be recognized as belonging to the Sunflower family. This page includes members of the Senecio genera which include one native and several mostly rather undistinguished  non-native species.

California Ragwort – Senecio californicus

Blooms:

Mar–June

Plant Height:

10–50 cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

 

Native

Habitat:

Dry woodland slopes

Notes:

The flowers are in clusters with 10–15 strap-shaped, slightly reflexed ray flowers about 1 cm long. The tips of the ray flowers are not lobed, unlike those on most Tarweeds (Madia & Layia). Phyllaries are black-tipped and the involucre  bell-shaped. Leaves are long, lanceolate to lance-linear and clasping, sometimes serrated or pinnately-lobed.

Red-purple Ragwort – Senecio elegans

Blooms:

Mar–June

Plant Height:

20–50+ cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

South Africa

Habitat:

Disturbed coastal areas

Notes:

Unmistakable with its bright red to pink-purple ray flowers with dark purple to black phyllary tips. There are 13–21 ray flowers, 10–15 mm long. Lower leaves are 1–2 times pinnately lobed.

Coast Burnweed / Fireweed – Senecio minumus

Blooms:

July–Sept

Plant Height:

10–20 dm

Flower Size:

Medium cluster

Origin:

Australasia

Habitat:

Disturbed coastal or near-coastal places

Notes:

This and Cut-leaved Burnweed (Senecio glomeratus) are very similar with clusters of small disciform heads with yellow disk flowers.  Coast Burnweed has leaves which are entire and generally finely toothed and its flowers are slightly smaller. Its general appearance  is more greenish than yellow.

Cut-leaved Burnweed / Fireweed – Senecio glomeratus

Blooms:

June–Aug

Plant Height:

6–20 dm

Flower Size:

Small cluster

Origin:

Australasia

Habitat:

Disturbed coastal or near-coastal sites below 300 m

Notes:

This and Coast Burnweed (Senecio minimus) are very similar with clusters of small disciform heads with yellow disk flowers.  Cut-leaved Burnweed has leaves which have conspicuous, irregular lobes and its flowers are slightly larger. Its general appearance  is more  yellowish than green.

Wood Groundsel – Senecio sylvaticus

Blooms:

Mar–Sept

Plant Height:

15–80 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

European

Habitat:

Disturbed places, especially coastal

Notes:

Inflorescences are similar to those of Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) except they are in open clusters.  Individual heads are more slender and they have minute ray flowers.  Leaves are also similar to Common Groundsel except smaller.

Common Groundsel – Senecio vulgaris

Blooms:

All year

Plant Height:

10–60 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Europe, Asia

Habitat:

Disturbed areas

Notes:

A very common weed.  The black-tipped phyllaries and bractlets are distinctive.  Each discoid flower head contains 55–65 bright but inconspicuous disk flowers but no ray flowers. Leaves are coarsely toothed to pinnate.