Plants of
South Australia
Senecio dolichocephalus
Mallee Fireweed,
Woodland Groundsel,
Narrow 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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Prior names

Senecio tenuiflorus, partly

Common names

Mallee Fireweed

Woodland Groundsel

Narrow Groundsel


Senecio from the Latin 'senex' meaning an old man; referring to the white pappus attached to the seed. Dolichocephalus from the Greek 'dolichos' meaning long and 'cephale' meaning head, referring to the relatively long capitula (flower cluster)

Distribution and status

Found on the Eyre Peninsula, upper Yorke Peninsula, Flinders Ranges and the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia, growing in sandy soils in woodland and shrublands. Also found in Western Australia and Victoria. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Rare in Western Australia. Uncommon in Victoria.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, Green Adelaide
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect annual herb to 60 cm high with fleshy stems covered in cottony hairs. Leaves in middle third of stems oblanceolate to very narrow-elliptic to 15 cm long, not dissected but may have dentations or teeth, upper surface scabrous, lower suface usually purple with coarse hairs. Leaves in upper stems narrow-linear to 30 cm with cobwebby hairs on both surfaces. Inflorescence of several capitula (heads) with yellow ray-less daisy flowers. Flowering between September and February. Fruits are large fluffy daisy-head with exposed white pappus. Seed embryo type is spatulate fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and March. Collect heads that are large and fluffy. Either pick off the whole heads or use your finger and pull off the seeds from the head. Mature seeds will come off easily. Place the heads in a tray for a week to dry. No cleaning is required if only pure seeds are collected. If heads are collected, then rub the heads gently with your hands 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.