Plants of
South Australia
Senecio cunninghamii var. cunninghamii
Branching Groundsel,
Shrubby Groundsel
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3

Common names

Branching Groundsel

Shrubby Groundsel


Senecio from the Latin 'senex' meaning an old man; referring to the white pappus attached to the seed. Cunninghamii named after Allan Cunningham (1791-1839), an English botanist and explorer, primarily known for his travels in Australia to collect plants, including the type specimen for this species from Lake George.

Distribution and status

Found on the upper Yorke Peninsula, the Mount Lofty Ranges and along the Murray River in South Australia. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perrenial shrub to 1.8 m high, hailess except for newer growth which has woolly hairs and glaucous. Leaves sub-fleshy to fleshy. Mid-branch leaves narrow-elliptic, narrow oblong-elliptic or linear to narrow-linear, to 14 cm long, undivided. Upper leaves with small undivided auricles, not amplexicaul, margin entire, revolute, or sometimes larger leaves with scattered teeth. Flower-heads with 5–25 dense clusters, with small yellow rayless daisy flowers. This variety differ from Senecio cunninghamii var. flindersensis by having a Stem leaves length:width ratio > 10, margin usually entire and mid-branch leaves with length:width ratio 15–40. Peduncles and capitula glabrous at and before anthesis, often glaucous. Flowering mostly summer to autumn. Fruits are pale brown vase-shaped daisy-head. Seed embryo type is spatulate fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and April. Collect heads that are fat, hard and turning brown by picking off the whole heads. Place the heads in a tray for a week to dry. Then rub the heads gently with your hands or a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Viable seeds will be fat and hard. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.