Scientific Name: Senecio vulgaris
Other names: Common Groundsel, Old-man-in-the-spring
Annual, which prefers heavier moister soils. The bright green, slightly shiny leaves are lobed and toothed, arranged alternately on the stem. It flowers throughout the year with yellow oblong flower-heads, they may or may not have rays. The seed have fluffy carriers blown by the wind.
Used as a diuretic and to induce sweating, taken as an infusion, but this should not be too strong, otherwise it becomes emetic and purgative. In Old English 'groundsel' meant pus-absorber and it was used to draw matter out of boils, blisters and wounds
Height - up to 40 cm.
Hoe or hand pull before flowering, the plants are easily uprooted and do not regrow provided the basal growing point is removed.
Weedkillers to use:-
Paraquat, Diquat by contact action.
A residual herbicide prevents germination.
See also Ragwort, which is in the same Genus and has similar leaves and flowers.
(17th century astrologer-physician)
"Although a common plant, it has many virtues. Taken in ale, it acts against the pains of the stomach, stangury and jaundice. It is cooling and digesting in inflammations and, made like tea, is an emetic. It will destroy worms and is useful in scrofulous tumors, inflammation of the breasts and scald head.
The juice is purgative and the dose should not exceed two ounces. The leaves, bruised and applied outwardly to the stomach, produce a similar effect, and there is no better application for the gripes and colic of infants.
For sore breasts, pick a handful of the fresh juicy leaves, bruise them and make a poultice with a little bread boiled in milk. Then lay the poultice on and repeat as often as needed, and an effectual cure will result.
When taken in wine the juice provokes urine and expels gravel. A dram of the juice is sufficient taken inwardly and caution should be used so that it may not work mischief."
Emetic - induces vomiting.
Scrofula - glandular swellings.
Stangury - painful urination,drop by drop!