Groundsel Senecio vulgaris

Status Green - Least concern
Best Time to See January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Colour Yellow
Habitat

A common annual weed of rough and cultivated ground, its clusters of small yellow flowers appear on road verges, in gardens and waste ground throughout the year.

How to spot it

The leaves are bright shiny green, long and raggedly lobed. The small yellow flower heads are in cluster at the ends of the stems appearing to emerge from little tubes.

Where it grows

Groundsel is an annual weed of cultivated or disturbed ground, cropping up along field edges, roadside verges and on waste grounds.

Best time to see

Can be found in flower throughout the year.

How's it doing?

Continues to be widespread throughout the British Isles, although there appears to have been a decline in the Scottish Highlands, possibly due to abandoning of marginal cultivations.

Did you know?

Both birds and rabbits enjoy the leaves and seeds, and it is widely used as food for caged birds.

Its name comes from an Old English word grundeswilige meaning ‘ground swallower’, reflecting its tendency to grow profusely wherever it gets a chance.


Groundsel is a good food source for caterpillars of butterflies and moths and is one of only two plant species that provide food for cinnabar moth caterpillars.

The breeze is stopt the lazy bough,
Hath not a leaf that dances now,
Hawkweed and groundsels fairey downs,
Unruffld keep their seeding crowns

John Clare, “The Shepherd’s Calendar’