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Woody Fleabane

Dittrichia viscosa

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, 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, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Fields, roadsides, towns, wasteland.

Yellow, many petals
A many-flowered plant with yellow flowerheads. The flowerheads consist of up to 16 ray florets and 44 disc florets. Flowers measure up to 1.5cm wide and they are smaller than those of the similar looking Golden Samphire (Inula crithmoides). Pollinated by insects.
Hairy and circular in cross section, tapering at both ends. The hairs are white.
A many-branched perennial with long, spear-shaped leaves. The toothed leaves end in a point. The leaves have sticky, glandular hairs on the surfaces. The leaves are not fleshy like those of the similar looking Golden Samphire. The stems are sometimes woody. Within the British Isles, Woody Fleabane can only be found in Landguard Common, Suffolk and Cardiff.
The sticky hairs on the leaves smell unpleasant and strongly resinous.
Other Names:
False Yellowhead, Sticky Fleabane, Sticky Goldenrod, Yellow Fleabane.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Dittrichia viscosa, also known as false yellowhead, sticky fleabane, or sticky goldenrod, is a species of wildflower in the daisy family (Asteraceae). It is native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, but has been introduced in many parts of the world, including North America, where it is considered an invasive species.

Dittrichia viscosa is a perennial herb that can grow up to 2 meters tall, with a woody base and branching stems. The leaves are alternate and lance-shaped, and the plant produces large, yellow composite flowerheads that bloom from late summer to fall. The flowers are typically 2-3 inches in diameter, and are followed by small achenes (fruits) that are equipped with fluffy bristles to help disperse them by wind.

This plant prefers to grow in well-drained soils in full sun, but it can also grow in dry or rocky soils and tolerate drought conditions. It can be found growing in roadsides, waste places, along railroad tracks and in other disturbed areas.

Dittrichia viscosa is propagated by seed, and can be grown in most soils in full sun or partial shade. It's hardy to USDA zones 8-11, and it is considered invasive in some regions and not recommended to be planted. It's worth noting that this plant can secrete a sticky resin, which can be a nuisance if it grows near footpaths or in gardens. It is not known to have any specific medicinal properties, and it is considered safe to grow and handle, but it is not recommended for planting in areas where it's considered invasive.


Woody Fleabane, also known as Dittrichia viscosa, is a herbaceous plant that is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the Asteraceae family and is commonly found in dry, rocky habitats, such as hillsides and scrublands. Woody Fleabane is a hardy plant that is known for its medicinal and therapeutic properties, as well as its unique appearance and hardiness.

Appearance and Characteristics

Woody Fleabane is a perennial plant that typically grows to be between 40 and 150 cm tall. Its stem is woody at the base, with branching stems that are covered in glandular hairs. The leaves of the plant are narrow, with a length of 5 to 10 cm, and are covered in glandular hairs. The flowers of Woody Fleabane are small and yellow, and are arranged in clusters at the end of the branches.

Medicinal Properties

Woody Fleabane has a long history of use in traditional medicine. The plant contains a range of biologically active compounds, including flavonoids, tannins, and essential oils, which are responsible for its medicinal properties. The plant has been used for a variety of purposes, including to treat fevers, coughs, colds, and other respiratory ailments.

One of the most important medicinal properties of Woody Fleabane is its anti-inflammatory activity. The plant contains a range of compounds that help to reduce inflammation in the body, which makes it useful for treating a range of inflammatory conditions. Woody Fleabane is also a natural pain reliever, which makes it useful for treating headaches, joint pain, and other types of pain.

Therapeutic Properties

In addition to its medicinal properties, Woody Fleabane also has a range of therapeutic properties. The plant is rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. Woody Fleabane is also known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which make it useful for treating infections.

Woody Fleabane is also used in skincare products. The plant is known to help improve skin health and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. The plant is often used in natural skincare products, including soaps, lotions, and creams.

Culinary Uses

Woody Fleabane is also used in traditional Mediterranean cuisine. The leaves of the plant are used to add flavor to a range of dishes, including stews, soups, and sauces. The plant is also used to make tea, which is said to have a range of health benefits.

Ecological Role

Woody Fleabane is an important plant in its native Mediterranean ecosystem. The plant is well-adapted to survive in dry, rocky habitats, and its deep root system helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion. The plant also provides habitat and food for a range of insects and other animals. In particular, the flowers of the plant are an important source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.

Cultivation and Harvesting

Woody Fleabane is relatively easy to cultivate and can be grown from seed or cuttings. The plant prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil and is relatively drought-tolerant once established. In terms of harvesting, the leaves and flowers of the plant are typically collected in the late summer or early autumn when the plant is in full bloom. The leaves and flowers can be dried and used for a range of purposes, including tea, skincare products, and herbal remedies.

Potential Side Effects

While Woody Fleabane is generally considered safe, it is important to be aware of potential side effects. The plant contains compounds that can cause allergic reactions in some people. Additionally, the plant may interact with certain medications, so it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before using Woody Fleabane for medicinal purposes.

Conservation Status

Woody Fleabane is considered a widespread and common species in its native range, although it may be threatened in some areas due to habitat destruction or invasive species. However, the plant has also been introduced to other parts of the world, where it is considered a noxious weed. In some areas, such as Australia, the plant has been classified as a weed due to its ability to grow rapidly and outcompete native plant species.

Uses in Folklore and Mythology

Woody Fleabane has been used in traditional folklore and mythology in various cultures around the world. In ancient Greece, the plant was associated with the goddess Artemis and was believed to have protective properties. The plant was also used to ward off evil spirits and to protect against the evil eye. In Italian folklore, the plant was associated with the Madonna and was believed to have the power to heal and protect against disease.

In Summary

Woody Fleabane, or Dittrichia viscosa, is a unique and versatile plant with a long history of use in traditional medicine, culinary arts, and folklore. Its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties make it a valuable addition to any herbal medicine cabinet, while its antiseptic and antioxidant properties make it a useful ingredient in natural skincare products. While Woody Fleabane is generally considered safe, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before using the plant for medicinal purposes.