Saw Groundsel

Saw Groundsel, courtesy of Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, Bugwood.org
Photo courtesy of Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org
Common Name(s):
Saw Groundsel
Tall Ragwort
Butterweed
Butterweed Groundsel
Tall Butterweed
Scientific Name(s):
Senecio serra Hook.
Scientific Name Synonyms:
None Known
Symbol:
SESE2
Description:
Life Span: Perennial, Biennial, Annual
Origin: Native
 
Growth Characteristics: Saw groundsel is a smooth plant, growing 2-5 feet tall. 
 
Flowers: Saw groundsel has many bright yellow flowers per stem and bracts which are red-to-black tipped. Each flower is about ½ inch wide and 5-10 flowers make up flat topped umbrella-type arrangements. The individual blooms have a ragged appearance.
 
Fruits/Seeds:  Each head produced about 20 smooth seeds with long white bristles to carry them away in the wind.
 
Leaves: The leaves of Saw groundsel are long and narrow, often less than ½ inch wide, with a gradually tapering base. They are glabrous and have finely serrated margins. The stem leaves are on short stalks, and are only slightly reduced in size at the top of the stem. 
 
Stems: Multiple smooth stems. 
 
Roots: Saw groundsel arises from a caudex. Its roots are course and felt-covered.
Ecological Adaptations:
Saw groundsel is found in montane areas, preferring moist woodlands, openings, and streamsides. 
 
Soils: Prefers moist soils.
 
Associated Species:  Aspen,  snowberry, yarrow
Uses and Management:
Of the many species of groundsels in the West, Saw groundsel is one of the best as a source of forage. It produces an abundance of succulent herbages, and withstands grazing well. It is grazed mainly by sheep.