Senecio (suh-NEE-see-oh)


Relatives: Chamomile, Dandelion, Sunflower, Yarrow

Senecio is a genus of the daisy family that includes ragworts and groundsels. The scientific Latin genus name, Senecio, means “old man”. The genus Senecio is one of the largest genera of flowering plants. Despite the separation of many species into other genera, this genus is still estimated to contain over 1,250 spices although no exact count is really known. The genus has an almost worldwide distribution and is believed to have evolved in the mid to late Miocene period. Several species produce natural biocides (especially alkaloids) to deter or even kill animals that would eat them. Senecio species are used as food plants by the larvae of several Lepidoptera species. The flower heads are normally rayed with the heads borne in branched clusters and are usually completely yellow, but green purple, white and even blue flowers have been observed.

Succulent Senecio species come in various forms, cascading down rock faces or down from hanging baskets, forming tall mounding shrubs, or prodicing single upright stalks. All of these succulents grow best in full sun, planted in a gritty, well-draining soil allowed to dry completely between deep waterings.