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Common Cudweed

Filago vulgaris

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Treasureflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White African Daisy, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, heathland, meadows, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, wasteland.

Yellow, no petals
Deep yellow, globular flowers. The flowers are red-tipped. The flowers are in clusters of 10 to 40. Each flower is about 10 to 12mm across.
A tiny achene with a white, hairy pappus.
An low-growing annual flower with linear, wavy-edged leaves. The narrow, silvery-grey, oblong leaves are broadest at the base. Covered in a woolly down.
Other Names:
Common Cottonrose, Common Cottonweed, Small Cottonweed.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Filago vulgaris, also known as common cottonweed or small cottonweed, is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family. It is native to Europe and can be found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, pastures, and roadside verges. The plant has hairy, green leaves and small, yellow flowers with a brown center that bloom in the spring and summer. The flowers are surrounded by a ring of small, hairy, green bracts that resemble leaves. The plant has a hairy, branching stem and grows to be about 30 cm tall. It is a popular garden plant and is often grown for its attractive flowers and ability to tolerate dry conditions. Common cottonweed is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems and skin conditions.


Common Cudweed (Filago vulgaris), also known as Filago, is a small annual or biennial plant that belongs to the daisy family (Asteraceae). This plant is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa and is commonly found in disturbed soil, fields, roadsides, and waste areas.

Common Cudweed is a low-growing plant that typically reaches a height of 10-30 cm. The plant has a rosette of small, gray-green leaves that are covered with a soft, downy hair. The leaves are oval-shaped, with a slightly wrinkled texture and a toothed margin.

The flowers of Common Cudweed are small and inconspicuous, with a yellowish-white color. They are arranged in compact, rounded clusters on the top of the stem and are surrounded by several bracts that are larger than the flowers themselves. The flowers bloom from June to September and are a source of nectar for a variety of insects, including bees, flies, and butterflies.

The seeds of Common Cudweed are small and have a papery, feathery tuft that helps them disperse in the wind. This plant is a prolific seed producer, and the seeds can remain viable in the soil for several years, allowing the plant to quickly colonize disturbed areas.

Common Cudweed has a long history of use as a medicinal herb. In traditional medicine, the plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, skin conditions, and respiratory infections. However, it is important to note that there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses, and more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of Common Cudweed.

Common Cudweed is a small, unassuming plant that is often overlooked. Despite its modest appearance, this plant has a long history of use in traditional medicine and provides important habitats for a variety of insects. If you come across Common Cudweed in your travels, take a moment to appreciate this little plant and its unique place in the natural world.

Aside from its medicinal uses, Common Cudweed also has several ecological benefits. The plant provides food and habitat for a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths, which are important pollinators. The plant's large number of seeds and its ability to quickly colonize disturbed areas make it a valuable addition to any ecosystem.

In some parts of the world, Common Cudweed is considered an invasive species. The plant's ability to quickly colonize new areas and its prolific seed production can make it difficult to control, leading to its negative impact on native plant communities. However, in other areas, Common Cudweed is considered a valuable wildflower, and it is cultivated for ornamental purposes.

When it comes to gardening and landscaping, Common Cudweed can be a great choice for those looking to create a low-maintenance, low-growing groundcover. The plant's gray-green leaves and small, yellowish-white flowers can provide a soft, understated contrast to other plants in the garden. Common Cudweed is also a great choice for those who are looking to create a natural or wildflower-style garden, as it is well-suited to growing in disturbed soil and waste areas.

Common Cudweed is a versatile and valuable plant that has a long history of use in traditional medicine and has important ecological benefits. Whether you are looking to create a natural garden or simply appreciate the beauty of wildflowers, Common Cudweed is a great choice that is sure to bring a touch of the wild to your outdoor space.

It's also worth mentioning that Common Cudweed is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and care for. The plant is tolerant of a wide range of soils, including sandy, clay, and loamy soils, and can grow in both full sun and partial shade. It is also drought-tolerant, making it a great choice for those who live in areas with dry summers.

When planting Common Cudweed, it's important to remember that the plant prefers well-drained soil and can become waterlogged if the soil is too moist. To help ensure good drainage, you can mix compost or other organic matter into the soil when planting, or choose a planting site that is elevated or well-drained.

Common Cudweed is also a great choice for those who are looking for a low-maintenance plant that requires little care. Once established, the plant will grow and spread on its own, and it does not require regular watering or fertilization. However, if you are looking to encourage the plant to grow more quickly, you can provide it with a light application of compost or other organic matter in the spring.

In conclusion, Common Cudweed is a versatile and valuable plant that is easy to grow and care for. Whether you are looking for a hardy groundcover, a natural addition to your garden, or simply a beautiful wildflower, Common Cudweed is sure to meet your needs.


Common Cudweed filmed at Woodbridge, Suffolk on the 29th June 2022.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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