Prairie Groundsel (Senecio plattensis)
Prairie Groundsel Senecio plattensis Nutt. (COMPOSITE FAMILY)
Prairie groundsel is an erect perennial 6-18 in. tall arising from a branching rhizome or short caudex. The alternate leaves are wooly when young and glabrate at maturity. The basal leaves are closely spaced, toothed to pinnately lobed, and oblong to ovate. The upper leaves are sparse, linear-lanceolate, and commonly deeply pinnately lobed. The heads are terminal in a more or less flat-topped inflorescence. The rays and disk florets are yellow to yellow-orange, the head 1/2-3/4 in. in diameter. The fruit is a narrow flat-topped achene with bristles on the angles. This plant can cause poisoning of livestock, but is rarely eaten. Since it appears early in the growing season on pastures that have been grazed heavily, it may be the only green plant available and thus consumed.