GOLDEN RAGWORT GROUNDSEL SQUAWWEED





(Senecio aureus) Thistle family



Flower-heads - Golden yellow, about 3/4 in. across, borne on

slender peduncles in a loose, leafless cluster; rays 8 to 12

around minute disk florets. Stem: Slender, 1 to 2 1/2 ft. high,

solitary or tufted, from a strong-scented root. Leaves: From the

root, on long petioles, rounded or heart-shaped, scalloped-edged,

often purplish; stem leaves variable, lance-shaped or lyrate,

deeply cut, sessile.

Preferred Habitat - Swamps, wet ground, meadows.

Flowering Season - May-July.

Distribution - Gulf States northward to Missouri, Ontario, and

Newfoundland.



While the aster clan is the largest we have in North America,

this genus Senecio is really the most numerous branch of the

great composite tribe, numbering as it does nearly a thousand

species, represented in all quarters of the earth. It is said to

take its name from senex = an old man, in reference to the white

hairs on many species; or, more likely, to the silky pappus that

soon makes the fertile disks hoary headed. "I see the downy heads

of the senecio gone to seed, thistle like but small," wrote

Thoreau in his journal under date of July 2nd, when only the

pussy-toes everlasting could have plumed its seeds for flight

over the dry uplands in a similar fashion. Innumerable as the

yellow, daisy-like composites are, most of them appear in late

summer or autumn, and so the novice should have little difficulty

in naming these loosely clustered, bright, early blooming small

heads.





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