Asteraceae Senecio spartioides

Clusters of yellow flowers growing out of sandy orange soil.

Senecio spartioides var. spartioides

Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora – Compositae) – Sunflower Family

Perennial herbs from a taproot; 8” to 3.3' (2 to 10 decimeters) tall

Leaves: alternate; simple; entire or with lobes; 0.8” to 4” (2 to 10 cm) long or more

Flowers: yellow ray flowers surrounding a cluster of yellow disk flowers; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite). Bisexual; 4 to 8 rays; rays 0.28” to 0.48” (7 to 12 mm) long; disk 0.2” to 0.4” (5 to 10 mm) wide; involucres 0.2” to 0.4” (5 to 10 mm) high, 0.16” to 0.32” (4 to 8 mm) wide

Pollinators: other Senecio species are pollinated by insects

Fruits: achene – 1 seeded with hard shell

Blooms in Arches National Park: October (and possibly mid-summer)

Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities; often in sand

Location seen: Courthouse wash

Other: The genus, “Senecio”, is from the Latin “senex” which means “old man” referring to the fine white hairs on the seeds which resemble an old man's beard. The species, “spartioides”, is derived from the Greek word “sparto” which means “broom” and “oides” which means "like something else".

This family is the most advanced and complex of the dicots. The family is rich in oils and resins and is found in every part of the world, but is infrequent in the tropical rainforest. Aquatic or semi-aquatic species are also uncommon.

Last updated: February 4, 2023

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