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Welsh Groundsel

Senecio cambrensis

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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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 Cudweed, 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, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welted Thistle, 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:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, roadsides, rocky places, seaside, walls, wasteland.

Yellow, many petals
Yellow, cylindrical flowerheads with between 8 and 15 petals. Some specimens are without any petals.
The fruit is a seed with a plume. The seed is technically known as an achene and the plume is the pappus.
A short-lived perennial with deeply lobed leaves. The plant has very few hairs or no hairs at all. Only the lower leaves are stalked. Most occurrences of Welsh Groundsel can be found within or nearby to Llandudno and Wrexham.
Other Names:
Welsh Ragwort.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Senecio cambrensis, also known as Welsh groundsel, is a perennial herb that is native to Wales, England and Scotland. It grows to a height of 10-60 cm and has yellow flowers that bloom from June to September. The leaves are lanceolate and covered in white hairs. The plant is typically found growing on rocky or sandy soils, often in coastal regions. It is also known for having an ability to colonize waste ground and quarries, and is classified as a weed in some places.


Welsh Groundsel, scientifically known as Senecio cambrensis, is a beautiful flowering plant that is native to the western regions of Europe. It is a member of the Asteraceae family and is commonly found in the coastal regions of Wales and other parts of the United Kingdom. This plant is highly valued for its ornamental value and is frequently cultivated in gardens and parks.

The Welsh Groundsel is a herbaceous perennial plant that typically grows up to a height of 20-60 cm. It has a robust and branching stem, which is covered with tiny hairs. The plant produces beautiful yellow flowers that bloom in clusters at the top of the stem. These flowers have a diameter of approximately 2 cm and are composed of ray and disc florets. The flowering period of Welsh Groundsel begins in July and extends till September.

The leaves of Welsh Groundsel are alternate and have a lanceolate shape. They are dark green and have a glossy texture. The leaves are covered with tiny hairs and have a serrated margin. The basal leaves are larger in size compared to the upper leaves and form a basal rosette. The leaves and stem of Welsh Groundsel contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are toxic to livestock and humans if consumed in large quantities.

Welsh Groundsel is a hardy plant that prefers to grow in well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. It can grow in both full sun and partial shade, making it a versatile plant for gardens and parks. It is a low maintenance plant that requires minimal watering and fertilization. However, it is essential to prune the plant regularly to prevent it from becoming too leggy.

The Welsh Groundsel has several uses in traditional medicine. It is known to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and is used to treat various ailments such as respiratory disorders, digestive problems, and skin irritations. However, it is important to note that the plant contains toxic alkaloids and should be used with caution.

Welsh Groundsel is not only a popular garden plant, but it also has ecological significance. It is an important food source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which are essential for the ecosystem's health. The plant's nectar and pollen provide nutrition for these insects, making it an important part of the food chain.

In addition to being a food source, Welsh Groundsel also has soil stabilizing properties. Its root system is known to be deep and fibrous, making it useful in erosion control. It can also tolerate salt spray and high winds, making it an ideal plant for coastal areas.

Unfortunately, Welsh Groundsel is threatened in its natural habitat due to habitat loss and overgrazing by livestock. The plant is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, making it illegal to uproot or destroy it in the wild. In addition, the Royal Horticultural Society recommends that gardeners source Welsh Groundsel plants from reputable nurseries to avoid the potential spread of harmful pests and diseases.

Senecio cambrensis is also known by several common names, including Welsh Ragwort, Welsh Fleabane, and Welsh Jacob's Ladder. The name "ragwort" comes from the plant's ragged appearance, while "fleabane" refers to its historical use as an insect repellent.

The plant has a rich cultural history in Wales and is a symbol of Welsh identity. It is said to have been the inspiration for the Welsh national emblem, the leek, due to its similar appearance. Welsh Groundsel is also referenced in Welsh literature and folklore, where it is often associated with love and courtship.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological uses, Welsh Groundsel has also been used for its dyeing properties. The plant produces a yellow dye, which has been used to color textiles and wool. The dye can be extracted from the flowers and leaves of the plant by boiling them in water.

There are several other species of Senecio plants, some of which are also commonly referred to as groundsel. These include the common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) and the mountain groundsel (Senecio eremophilus). While these plants may look similar to Welsh Groundsel, they have distinct differences in their appearance and growth habits.

Common groundsel is an annual plant that is commonly found in fields and waste areas. It has small yellow flowers and can grow up to 40 cm tall. Mountain groundsel, on the other hand, is a perennial plant that is native to mountainous regions of North America. It has larger yellow flowers than Welsh Groundsel and can grow up to a height of 1 meter.

Senecio plants have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, although the use of these plants is not without controversy. While they have been used to treat various ailments such as respiratory problems and skin irritations, they contain toxic compounds known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These alkaloids can cause liver damage and other health problems if consumed in large quantities.

In conclusion, Welsh Groundsel is a beautiful and versatile plant with many uses and cultural significance. It is an important part of the ecosystem and is valued for its hardiness and low maintenance. However, it is important to handle the plant with care due to its toxic properties and to protect its natural habitats from destruction. By doing so, we can ensure that this beautiful plant continues to thrive for generations to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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