Common groundsel

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Common groundsel
Common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), illustration

Common groundsel ( Senecio vulgaris ), illustration

Order : Astern-like (Asterales)
Family : Daisy family (Asteraceae)
Subfamily : Asteroideae
Tribe : Senecioneae
Genre : Field herbs ( Senecio )
Type : Common groundsel
Scientific name
Senecio vulgaris

The Common groundsel ( Senecio vulgaris ), also Groundsel or Common ragwort called, is one of the most common types of the genus Senecio ( Senecio ) within the family of the daisy family (Asteraceae).


Flower heads
Infructescence with pappus

Vegetative characteristics

The common ragwort is an annual or annual wintering herbaceous plant that reaches heights of 10 to 30 centimeters. The more or less bare leaves are pinnately or irregularly pinnate to ovate. The pinnate lobes are toothed or split.

Generative characteristics

The common ragwort is very easy to recognize among the ragwort by its small size and the mostly missing ray florets. The cups have a double cover. The outer cover consists of ten narrowly lanceolate or awlish small bracts , the upper part of which is almost half black or dark brown in color. The cylindrical or upwardly narrowed flower heads are quite small: about 4 mm wide and 8 mm long and contain 60 to 80 hermaphrodite tubular flowers . Ray florets are mostly completely absent, while the other ragwort species often have well-developed, but at least short and rolled-back ray florets.

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 40.


Common ragwort is a therophyte , summer or winter annual (and then often a half-rosette plant ). It roots up to 45 centimeters deep and is a nitrogen and fermentation indicator.

The flowers have no flowering period and therefore also bloom in winter. They are "cup flowers". The bracts are close-fitting and spread to maturity. Pollinators are bees and hoverflies ; spontaneous self-pollination is also successful.

The fruits are achenes with pappus ; they are spread by the wind (umbrella flyers). The pericarp is covered with soft hairs that secrete threads of mucus when wet. This also fixes the fruit in the germination bed (adhesive spreading). It is also possible to hide in hiding by meadow ants of the genus Tetramorium . As a ruderal plant, it is also spread by humans. The fruit ripens from March.

Common ragwort is attacked by the rust fungi Puccinia lagenophorae with Aecien and Telien and by Coleosporium senecionis with Uredien and Telien.

Common ragwort infested by the rust fungus Puccinia lagenophorae
Common groundwort ( Senecio vulgaris )
Originally distributed in Eurasia and Africa


Common groundsel is originally widespread in Eurasia and North Africa.

It thrives in the temperate and meridional areas of Europe. It is a neophyte almost worldwide and thrives in all temperate to subtropical areas. Senecio vulgaris is a widespread neophyte in North America . It also occurs, for example, in New Zealand, Hawaii, St. Helena, Tristan da Cunjha, in Yemen and in the Nilgiri Hills in India. The species is also a neophyte in tropical and southern Africa, Madagascar, Australia, South America, the Caribbean, Japan and Taiwan.

Common groundsel is a typical ruderal plant . It grows on fresh, nutrient-rich, more or less humus-rich, loose soils of all kinds such as in fields, in gardens, vineyards, construction sites, etc. It is common almost everywhere. It was observed in the Allgäu Alps in Bavaria near Grasgehren at an altitude of 1440 meters.

According to Ellenberg , it is a half-light plant, a pointer of freshness. It is a class character type of the ruderal societies and related arable and garden weed societies (Chenopodietea) and also occurs in societies of the Secalietea class.


The scientific name Senecio vulgaris was first published in 1753 by Carl von Linné in Species Plantarum .

According to the investigations by Joachim W. Kadereit 1984–1985, Senecio vulgaris was created by doubling the set of chromosomes from spring ragwort ( Senecio leucanthemifolius subsp. Vernalis , Syn .: Senecio vernalis ).

Two subspecies can be distinguished in common ragwort:

  • Senecio vulgaris L. subsp. vulgaris : It has no ray florets.
  • Senecio vulgaris subsp. denticulatus (OFMüll.) PDSell (Syn .: Senecio denticulatus O.F.Müll. ): This subspecies has ray florets . It occurs in Spain, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Sicily and in the Aegean Sea, especially near the coast.

Common names

Other German names are gold herb , Cross Wurz , Common ragweed , Speykreuzkraut and scabious .


Common groundsel has long been used as a medicinal plant, for example as a hemostatic agent, for example for nosebleeds , but because of its toxicity from pyrrolizidine alkaloids , it is not advisable.



  • Siegmund Seybold (Ed.): Schmeil-Fitschen interactive . CD-ROM, version 1.1. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2002, ISBN 3-494-01327-6 .

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas . With the collaboration of Angelika Schwabe and Theo Müller. 8th, heavily revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5 , pp.  956 .
  2. a b c d Ruprecht Düll , Herfried Kutzelnigg : Pocket dictionary of plants in Germany. A botanical-ecological excursion companion to the most important species . 6th, completely revised edition. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2005, ISBN 3-494-01397-7 , p. 437-438 .
  3. Peter Zwetko: The rust mushrooms Austria. Supplement and host-parasite directory to the 2nd edition of the Catalogus Florae Austriae, III. Part, Book 1, Uredinales. ( PDF file; 1.8 MB ).
  4. a b c d Senecio vulgaris in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
  5. ^ A b c Gerhard Wagenitz : Family Compositae. In Gustav Hegi : Illustrated Flora of Central Europe . 2nd edition, Volume VI, Part 4, page 1382. Paul Parey Publishing House, Berlin, Hamburg 1987, ISBN 3-489-86020-9 .
  6. Erhard Dörr, Wolfgang Lippert : Flora of the Allgäu and its surroundings. Volume 2, IHW, Eching 2004, ISBN 3-930167-61-1 , p. 628.
  7. Heinz Ellenberg : Vegetation of Central Europe with the Alps in an ecological, dynamic and historical perspective (=  UTB for science. Large series . Volume 8104 ). 5th, heavily changed and improved edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 1996, ISBN 3-8252-8104-3 .
  8. Carl von Linné: Species Plantarum. Volume 2, Lars Salvius, Stockholm 1753, p. 867 ( digitized versionhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/ IA% 3D ~ MDZ% 3D% 0A ~ SZ% 3D ~ double-sided% 3D ~ LT% 3D ~ PUR% 3D ).
  9. a b c Werner Greuter (2006+): Compositae (pro parte majore). - In: W. Greuter & E. von Raab-Straube (ed.): Compositae. Euro + Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity. Datasheet Senecio vulgaris In: Euro + Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity.
  10. a b c A.O. Chater, SM Walters: Senecio L. In: Thomas Gaskell Tutin u. a .: Flora Europaea . Volume 4, pages 191-205. Cambridge University Press 1976.

Web links

Commons : Common Groundsel  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files