Native Plants for the SouthEast

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Golden Ragwort
  • Other Common Names: Heartleaf Ragwort
  • Scientific Name: Packera aurea (Linnaeus) Á. & D. Löve
    (Senecio aureus Linnaeus)
  • Family: Asteraceae (Aster Family); Genus: Packera (Ragwort)
  • Radford et al. (1968): Senecio aureus p. 1037
  • Armitage (2006): Senecio aureus (Packera aurea), Golden Ragwort p. 357
  • Range in the US: The East and the MidWest
  • SE Nativity: Yes
  • Habit: Short to Medium Perennial Forb; Evergreen
  • Sun: Shade-Part
  • Soil: Average-Wet; Wetland plant
  • Germination: Easy. One month stratification if no germination after a couple of weeks
  • Parentage: UGA Forestry, Athens-Clarke County, GA

  • Comments: A delightful dense evergreen groundcover that also produces masses of bright yellow flowers early in spring on short leafy stems. Should be able to adapt to a very wide variety of soil and sun. Golden Ragwort could be the native groundcover of the future, spreading by seed and underground stems. Hostplant for several families of butterflies and the flowers are visited by a wide variety of bees, beetles and Skipper butterflies.

    But Armitage (2006) writes that Golden Ragwort would be the only one of the many native species of Packera that he "would invite to my home, and then only as a filler in shady woodlands, never into a civilized garden. [It] is my kind of plant - an ornamental weed." Hum...a very illuminating comment. We at least agree it is an ornamental weed, but then he is in the Horticulture (We Tame the Wild) Department and we are in the Plant Biology (We do Everything Else) Department.

    Most of the New World species in the genus Senecio, the Ragworts and the Groundsels, have been moved into the genus Packera, named after John Packer at the University of Alberta, Canada. It appears that most of the species remaining in Senecio are those native to Europe. That genus, and the European species in it, were named first and have priority. Later New World discoveries have to be put into another genus because they are now known not to belong in the related Old World Senecio.
    Image by Wayne Hughes ©
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