Weed Identification

Australia > > African daisy

African daisy

Senecio pterophorus

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South Africa and Swaziland.

Flowers/Seedhead: Heads in flat topped clusters at the end of stems. Flowers late spring to autumn.

Description: Erect perennial herb to 1.5 (rarely to 3) m high. Leaves lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, 5–10 (to 14) cm long and 0.5–1.5 (to 2.5) cm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaves green above and white cobwebby below, margins toothed or entire; a ‘wing’ extending for a short distance down the stem from the lower side of the junction between the leaf stalk and the stem; bracts around flowerheads (involucral bracts) 4–6 mm long, 18–22 in one row; 8–13 yellow petal-like ray florets with strap-like parts 4–7 mm long, disc florets yellow; seeds 1.5–2 mm long topped by hairs (pappus) about 5 mm long that readily separate from the seed.

Dispersal: Spreads by movement of seed, by wind, water or movement in mud.

Confused With: Other tall Senecio species.

Mature flowerheads

Notes: Introduced to SA at Port Lincoln in ballast, in about 1930. Now well established in the Eyre Peninsula, the Adelaide Hills and south-eastern SA and present and increasing in Victoria and NSW. Cultivated as an ornamental. Readily invades areas following burning or clearing. In early years of infestation it may dominate pasture but if left undisturbed usually thins out and is not often a problem in well managed pastures or crops. This Senecio is also naturalised in Spain and England and forms dense populations in riverbeds near Barcelona.


    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 306–308.

Seeds & pappus

Leaves white underneath,
note leaf base
extending down stem


Older juvenile

St Clair, NSW, Jan

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H66

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.


Australia > > African daisy


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