Oxford Ragwort - Senecio squalidus


Medium height plant with a well branched stem. Leaves are deep green, lanceolate to pinnately lobed, the upper clasping the stem. Flowerheads bright yellow, 15 to 25 mm usually with 13 rays, borne in loose clusters, all flower bracts black tipped.

Similar Species

Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea (syn.= Jacobaea vulgaris) and Hoary Ragwort (Senecio erucifolis (syn. = Jacobaea erucifolia

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Very variable, but with a looser habit and lax corymbs compared to Common and Hoary ragworts.  Leaves usually pinnately lobed, but may be serrated; phyllaries (bracts under the flower head) black-tipped.

Recording advice

A photo of the whole plant, showing general habit and leaves as well as flowers; a side-on view of flowers. It is not possible to verify the species from photos of the flowers alone, especially if photographed from above looking down on to the flowers


Waste and disturbed ground, walls.

When to see it

April to December.

Life History

Annual or short lived perennial. This plant is native to Sicily where it colonises lava slopes on Mount Etna. It is now well established in the UK, particularly in towns, since it escaped from the Oxford Botanic Garden in 1794.

UK Status

Common and widespread in England and Wales, local in southern Scotland.

VC55 Status

Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 315 of the 617 tetrads.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map