Weed of the Week: Texas groundsel

Texas groundsel or Texas squaw-weed (Senecio ampullaceus) is a cool-season annual broadleaf plant that grows to 12 to 30 inches tall. The plants are often whitish with hair, but can be nearly hairless.  The unlobed, clasping leaves gradually reduce in size toward the top of the plant. Showy yellow flowers are produced in the spring.  Texas groundsel is found in the eastern half of the state and is abundant on sandy soils and may be a predominant species in freshly cleared forest.

Texas Groundsel in an East Texas Clover Pasture

Texas Groundsel in an East Texas Clover Pasture

Members of the genus Senecio can be toxic to livestock, but the toxic agent of these plants has not been established.  Cattle consuming Texas groundsel have developed clinical signs that appeared several months after it was ingested and the plants had been dead for quite a while.  Dead animals had classical liver cirrhosis identical to that produced by pyrrolizidine alkaloids.  Tests on many normal-appearing herd mates of the dead animals showed that they also had liver damage.  Llamas pastured with the plant for months at a time have also succumbed to terminal liver cirrhosis.

Mature Texas Groundsel

Mature Texas Groundsel

As with many cool-season annual weeds, control is less expensive and more likely if plants are treated while still in the rosette stage.  Once the plant begins stem elongation (bolts), more herbicide is required.


Select Herbicide Options:


2, 4-D

GrazonNext HL


Chapparal(for bermudagrass pastures, will destroy bahiagrass)

Pastora (for bermudagrass pastures, will destroy bahiagrass)

REMEMBER: THE LABEL IS THE LAW!  Always read the pesticide label before using.


Vanessa Corriher-Olson

Professor, Forage Extension Specialist

Soil & Crop Sciences

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Overton,TX



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