Senecio linearifolius A.Rich.

Fireweed Groundsel

Voy. Astrolabe 2: 129 (1834) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Slender to shrubby aromatic perennial to c. 1.5 m high; stems glabrous to white-cobwebbed. Leaves very variable, linear to ovate, 5–20 cm long, 3–50 mm wide, mostly sessile, sometimes shortly pseudopetiolate, often shortly auriculate, entire to regularly toothed; upper surface glabrous; lower surface glabrous, lightly cobwebbed or densely white-cobwebbed. Inflorescence corymbose, c. 4–15 cm across; capitula 20–200 or more, radiate; involucre cylindric, 3.5–5 mm long, glabrous or very sparsely cobwebbed at base; bracts 9–12; bracteoles few. Ray florets 4–8, yellow, ligules 3.5–6 mm long; disc florets 8–14, yellow. Cypselas obloid, 1.5–2 mm long, pale to reddish-brown, shortly papillose-hairy in rows; pappus of slender white hairs 4–5 mm long, deciduous. Flowers mostly Nov.–Mar.

CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HFE, HNF, HSF, MonT, NIS, OtP, OtR, SnM, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro. Common in cool, high-rainfall districts, often associated with tall forests, and a common colonizer following fire and/or soil disturbance.

Several noteworthy variants, possibly deserving formal recognition, occur in Victoria. Typical S. linearifolius has glabrous, linear to narrow elliptic leaves, to c. 15 mm wide, with entire or subentire margins; it occurs mainly in lowland areas. A montane to alpine variant occurs above c. 1000 m, having glabrous, relatively broad-ovate leaves (to 50 mm wide) that are coarsely toothed and are more or less stem-clasping at the base. However, plants apparently intermediate with this and the typical variant occur throughout the range of the species. A distinctive variant having entire to dentate, linear to lanceolate leaves 2–15 mm wide, that are densely white-cobwebbed beneath occurs in the Grampians, Portland area, Brisbane Ranges and near Euroa.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1999). Senecio. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
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Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Senecio linearifolius in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Senecio linearifolius in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Highlands-Far East present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory