A ‘fake’ dandelion you MUST NOT eat – part 5 of 7


Groundsel is barely a look-alike because the common garden weed in suburban Tasmania is much smaller than a genuine dandelion (although there are others in this family which grow into larger bushes). The yellow flowers are tiny by comparison, the leaves do not form a rosette and are not shaped like the Taraxacum officinale so I think this one is easy to discount, and to avoid consuming.

Senecio_vulgaris or Groundsel

A blog tells a story of irreversible liver damage if you consume this plant.

The Key to Tasmanian Vascular Plants says ‘Senecio is a large, common and widespread genus in Tasmania, with 27 native herbs or slightly woody plants and four introduced species (including ragwort, S. jacobaea, and groundsel, S. vulgaris). The native species include several fireweeds (species that regenerate vigorously after fire), but also alpine rosette plants and coastal plants. The flower heads are usually bright yellow, although C. elegans has purple flowers and S. albogilvus has cream flowers. Some species have only disc flowers (e.g. S. vulgaris) or seem to (e.g. S. quadridentatus), but many have both ray and disc flowers.


Keep this weed/plant away from your kitchen. Groundsel is toxic to humans and also to livestock.

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2 Responses to A ‘fake’ dandelion you MUST NOT eat – part 5 of 7

  1. Nei Morrison says:

    Hi Helen,

    Birds love the flower seeds in groundsel – used to feed it to our canaries regularly 👍

    Sent from my iPad



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