Common groundsel is a problem weed in cultivated crops. Senecio vulgaris it is not a strong competitor with established crops, though this broadleaf weed has the ability to produce abundant seeds, which is a major issue leading to its rapid dispersal. Leaves grow from the base of the stem. At maturity, the presence of yellow flowers and a head of seeds (white in appearance) are similar in appearance to dandelions – which are key defining features of common groundsel. It can be toxic if fed to livestock.
The cotyledons are oblong in shape and range from 3-11 mm. First leaves are ovate in shape and have few hairs.
Leaves alternate around the stem, are typically smooth and have large lobed ends (oblong). The undersides of the leaves are usually a greenish-purple colour. Stems range from 4-20 cm in height and are hollow. After five weeks of growth, the plant is able to produce seeds. Flowers grow along elongated stalks.
Optimal growth conditions
Conditions favoured are moist, fertile soils, as it does not do well in high temperatures and extremely dry environments.