March 9th, 2012

Latin:  Senecio vulgaris

Irish:   Gronnlus

This is a native annual that is closely related to Ragworth that is often found on open, disturbed ground.  Although a considerably smaller plant (10-30cm tall) and can be found in flower in any month of the year its flowers and leaves, in particular, do bear a striking resemblance to those of Ragworth.  It is a very common garden weed that can multiply rapidly because it can set seed even in the absence of pollination and its seeds can remain viable in the soil for many years.  In addition, the tiny seeds have a parachute of fine hairs that allow them to be carried aloft and transported over wide distances to colonise new areas of cultivated ground.

The name Groundsel is not related to “ground” but is an old English word for “pus absorber” so it is not surprising to note that it has been used in folk medicine as a poultice to “draw out” wounds, boils and blisters.


Although the plant contains the same poisonous alkaloids as Ragworth, the seeds of Groundsel are greatly valued by bird fanciers as feed for caged birds such as canaries, finches, etc..


Can be found in many of the spinneys and other areas of more-or-less bare soil around the course.

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