Flower-heads: small; growing in umbel-like, leafless clusters and composed of both ray and disk flowers. Leaves: alternate; the lower ones mostly heart-shaped, with long petioles, upper leaves lanceolate; deeply cut; sessile as they ascend the stem. Stem: erect; simple; smooth; cottony when young. The pappus of silky white down.
The ragwort, which is one of our native weeds, illuminates our meadows with the same tints of golden yellow that we sometimes trace in the amber light from a sunset. It is also sadly true that it is responsible for an immense amount of hay fever.
The generic name senecio is from senex, an old man, and refers to the silky, white hairs of the pappus. Although the plant is in general appearance somewhat like an aster, the leaves are quite individual and very variable in the different species.