Stem. - One to three feet high. Root-leaves. - Rounded, the larger ones mostly heart-shaped, toothed, and long-stalked. Stem-leaves. - The lower lyre-shaped, the upper lance-shaped, incised, set close to the stem. Flower-heads. - Yellow, clustered, composed of both ray and disk-flowers.
A child would perhaps liken the flower of the golden ragwort to a yellow daisy. Stain yellow the white rays of the daisy, diminish the size of the whole head somewhat, and you have a pretty good likeness of the ragwort. There need be little difficulty in the identification of this plant - although there are several marked varieties - for its flowers are abundant in the early year, at which season but few members of the Composite family are abroad.
The generic name is from senex - an old man - alluding to the silky down of the seeds, which is supposed to suggest the silvery hairs of age.
Closely allied to the golden ragwort is the common groundsel, S. vulgaris, which is given as food to caged birds. The flower-heads of this species are without rays.