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Bruso, George H.
Packera aurea (L.) A.& D. Löve
Golden ragwort, Golden groundsel, Butterweed
Synonyms: Senecio aureus
USDA Symbol: paau3
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Golden groundsel’s stout, thick, basal offshoots creep horizontally and send up erect flowering stems 1-3 ft. in height. Flowers are deep golden-yellow, daisy-like and showy. Heart-shaped basal leaves are dark-green above and purple beneath. The stem leaves are lobed. The roots colonize and the plant can achieve a groundcover effect over time.
Of the 16 species in eastern North America, an upland forest species, Squaw Weed (P. obovata), has spatulate leaves tapering at the base. Westward, on dry bluffs and prairies, Prairie Ragwort (P. plattensis) has basal leaves woolly on the underside. Woolly Ragwort (P. tomentosa), found in open woods and fields along the coastal plain from New Jersey to Texas, has long, narrow, woolly basal leaves, especially when young.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Retention: Evergreen Inflorescence: Head Size Notes:
Leaves to 4 inches. Flowers on 2 to 3 foot stalks. Leaf:
Green above, purplish below Flower:
Flower 1 inch across
White Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV Canada: MB
, QC Native Distribution:
Quebec to GA, w. to MN & LA. Eastern North America, Zones 3 to 9 Native Habitat:
Meadows; boggy swales; low woods USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N),
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, acidic soils.
Conditions Comments: Prefers moisture but also found growing in dryish areas. Tolerates seasonal flooding.
BenefitUse Ornamental: When planted en masse, can lend a golden glow to the spring woodland landscape.
Use Wildlife: Flowers attract bees.
Use Medicinal: Root and leaf tea used by Amerindians to treat delayed and irregular menses, childbirth complications, lung ailments, dysentery, difficult urination. (Foster & Duke) Toxic!
Tea made of whole plant used for problems associated with the female reproductive tract and to speed childbirth. Substitute for ergot. (Weiner)
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Leaves, but only low toxicity if touched or ingested. Symptoms include liver toxicity, skin irritation following contact. Toxic Principle: Pyrrolizidine alkaloids. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Divide golden ragwort in the spring.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require 45 days cool-moist stratification. After stratification the seeds should be incubated at 70-80 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: For neatness, cut seed stalks to base after seed dispersal.
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Record Modified: 2012-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff