T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Telanthophora grandifolia (Senecio grandifolius)

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Senecioneae
Subtribe: Tussilagininae
Genus: Telanthophora
Species: Telanthophora grandifolia
Binomial name: Telanthophora grandifolia
Synonym: Senecio grandifolius, Senecio ghiesbreghtii
Common name: Senecio grandifolius

Telanthophora grandifolia comes from mid-elevations in Mexico, Chiapas, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama where summer temperatures can get in the mid 29°C.
Telanthophora grandifolia is an evergreen leafy shrub that can take on a palm-like shape and it grows to 5m tall. The dark green, paddle shaped scalloped leaves tend to average 45–55cm long.
In winter, and occasionally other times of the year, the plant makes a terminal many-headed subcorymbose cyme (inflorescence) comprising hundreds of mustard yellow, star-shaped flowers up to 60cm across. The bright yellow clusters appear at the top of each branch. These develop parachute seeds develop like those of a dandelion.
It is considered a non-invasive species.

Species of the genus Telanthophora contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, e. g. Senecionine. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids lead to chronic liver poisoning, particularly for grazing animals.


The parachute seeds waiting for wind.

A single seed showing the parachute filaments on one plane.


Underside of a leaf