Name from senex, an old man, alluding to the white, silky hairs of the pappus, which soon make the fertile disks hoary.
Biennial. One of the few brilliantly yellow daisy-like flowers of spring. Open grounds, wet or dry. Newfoundland to Florida, west to the Mississippi. Abundant in northern Ohio. May, June.
Smooth or woolly when young, one to three feet high, hollow and sparingly leafy, solitary or tufted.
The basal leaves are simple, round or heart-shaped, on long petioles, with scalloped edges; the stem-leaves are partly clasping, lanceolate or oblong, deeply cut and notched; the leaves are thin and together with the stalk often stained with purple.
Radiate-composite, golden yellow, about an inch across, borne on slender peduncles in loose, leafless, rather flat clusters; ray-florets eight to twelve, pistillate; disk-florets perfect, tubular.
Five; anthers united into a tube.
One; style two-cleft.
Akene; pappus of many slender, white bristles.
The Golden Ragwort stands as a surprise and an astonishment among the flowers of early spring, it is so deeply, so goldenly yellow. Then, too, it looks like a Daisy, and Daisies are of the summer.
Before the flower-stems arise the plant appears as a tuft of long-stemmed, roundish, scalloped, heart-shaped leaves. A little later a stem ascends, a slender, tough, angular, twisting stem that finally reaches the height of two or three feet. A single stem or several may rise from the one root, and each will carry at its summit a loose cluster of bright orange-yellow flower-heads about an inch across, a trifle ragged and dishevelled, but gloriously yellow.
Golden Ragwort. Senecio aureus