Senecio jacobaea

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAsteraceaeSenecioSenecio jacobaea


A biennial or perennial herb, widespread in grassland and especially abundant in neglected, rabbit-infested or overgrazed pastures; it also grows on sand dunes, in scrub, open woods and along woodland rides, waste ground, road verges and waysides, and on rocks, screes and walls. 0-670 m (Atholl, E. Perth, and on Mangerton, S. Kerry).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Temperate element.

© H. Higgins, IWNHAS

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1102

Height (cm): 125

Perennation - primary


Perennation - secondary

Biennial, including monocarpic perennials

Life Form - primary


Comment on Life Form

The books differ as to whether normally biennial or perennial.



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Clonality - secondary

Clones formed by suckering from roots

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2725

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 982

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 14

Atlas Change Index: 0.11

Weighted Changed Factor: 4

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (271a)
Bain JF
1991.  The biology of Canadian weeds. 96. Senecio jacobaea L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 71:127-140.
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Harper JL, Wood WA
1957.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 62. Senecio jacobaea L. Journal of Ecology. 45:617-637.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger EJ
1992.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols.
Wardle DA
1987.  The ecology of ragwort (Senecio jacobaea L.) - a review. New Zealand. Journal of Ecology. 10:67-76.