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Chinese Ragwort

Sinacalia tangutica

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, 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, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Gardens, riversides, waterside, woodland.

Yellow, many petals
Pyramid-shaped panicles of tiny yellow flowers. The flowers each measure between 2 and 4mm across.
The fruit is an achene.
A clump-forming perennial with dark green, deeply divided leaves, up to 20cm (8 inches) long. Usually found growing in damp, shady places.
Other Names:
Chinese Groudsel, Yellowtop.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Sinacalia tangutica, also known as the Yellowtop, is a perennial flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is native to China and is known for its yellow and orange flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant grows to a height of around 50-100cm and prefers moist, well-drained soils in full sun or partial shade. It is not commonly cultivated as a ornamental plant, but it is known to be used in traditional Chinese medicine as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory agent.


Chinese Ragwort, also known as Sinacalia tangutica, is a beautiful flowering plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to the mountainous regions of western China, where it can be found growing at high altitudes of up to 4,000 meters. The plant is often used for ornamental purposes due to its attractive golden-yellow flowers and unique foliage.

Appearance and Characteristics

Sinacalia tangutica is a perennial herbaceous plant that typically grows to a height of 30-100 cm. It has a branching stem that is covered in grayish-white hairs, and a basal rosette of leaves. The leaves are deeply lobed and toothed, with a distinctive silvery-gray color. The plant produces bright yellow flower heads, which are composed of numerous small individual flowers. The flowers bloom from late summer to early autumn.

Cultivation and Uses

Chinese Ragwort is relatively easy to grow and can thrive in a variety of soil types. It prefers full sun to partial shade and requires moderate watering. The plant is hardy and can tolerate low temperatures, making it suitable for cultivation in many parts of the world.

The plant is often used for ornamental purposes in gardens, as well as for cut flowers in floral arrangements. The bright yellow flowers and unique foliage make it a popular choice for adding color and texture to landscapes. In addition, the plant is sometimes used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat respiratory and digestive ailments.

Ecological Importance

Chinese Ragwort is an important plant species for the mountainous regions of western China, where it is a source of food for grazing animals such as yaks and goats. It also plays a key role in stabilizing soil and preventing erosion in these high-altitude environments. However, in recent years, the plant has become an invasive species in some parts of the world, including the United States and Australia, where it can outcompete native plant species and threaten local ecosystems.

Chinese Ragwort is a beautiful and versatile plant that is both ornamental and ecologically important. While it is easy to grow and can add color and texture to gardens and landscapes, it is important to be aware of its potential to become invasive and to take appropriate measures to prevent its spread into sensitive ecosystems.

Chinese Ragwort has also been the subject of some scientific research due to its potential medicinal properties. The plant contains a number of compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments.

One study conducted in China found that a methanol extract of Sinacalia tangutica showed significant antioxidant activity, which could have potential applications in the treatment of conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Another study suggested that the plant may have potential as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, as it was found to have hypoglycemic effects in diabetic rats.

Despite its potential medicinal properties, it is important to note that the use of Chinese Ragwort in traditional medicine should be approached with caution, as some parts of the plant contain toxic compounds that can be harmful if consumed in large quantities.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, Chinese Ragwort also has cultural significance in China. In traditional Chinese folklore, the plant is believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits and protect against diseases. It is also associated with the autumn season, and is sometimes used in seasonal decorations and celebrations.

Chinese Ragwort is a fascinating and multifaceted plant that has a range of uses and cultural significance. While it is important to be aware of its potential to become invasive in some environments, when cultivated responsibly, it can add beauty to landscapes and offer potential benefits for human health.

Another interesting aspect of Chinese Ragwort is its potential as a source of renewable energy. The plant has a high oil content, and research has shown that it can be used as a feedstock for biodiesel production. In a study conducted in China, researchers found that Sinacalia tangutica oil could be used to produce biodiesel with similar properties to conventional diesel fuel. This could have significant implications for reducing the use of fossil fuels and mitigating climate change.

In addition to its potential as a source of renewable energy, Chinese Ragwort is also valued for its ability to improve soil quality. The plant is a nitrogen fixer, meaning it can convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by other plants. This makes it a valuable crop for improving soil fertility and reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers, which can have negative environmental impacts.

In conclusion, Chinese Ragwort is a plant with a range of interesting and useful properties. From its ornamental and cultural significance to its potential as a source of renewable energy and soil improver, this plant has a lot to offer. While it is important to be aware of its potential to become invasive in some environments, when managed responsibly, it has the potential to benefit both people and the planet.