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

Senecio elegans (Purple ragwort)

Kingdom:   Plantae\
(Unranked):        Angiosperms
(Unranked):        Eudicots
(Unranked):        Asterids
Order:       Asterales
Family:      Asteraceae
Tribe:        Senecioneae
Genus:      Senecio
Species:     S. elegans
Binomial name: Senecio elegans
Synonyms: Senecio pseudo-elegans
Common names: Purple groundsel, Purple ragwort, Red purple ragwort, Wild cineraria

Senecio elegans is a species of flowering plant in the aster family. It is an erect or ascending, annual herb, 10-60 cm tall. The leaves have blades up to about 8 centimetres long which are deeply cut or divided into several toothed lobes. The herbage is somewhat hairy and glandular, sticky to the touch. The inflorescence bears flower heads lined with black-tipped phyllaries (leaf-like plant part located just below a flower). They contain many yellowish disc florets at the centre. Each has usually 13 ray florets 1 to 1.5 centimetres long which are usually purple, purplish pink or a pale white.
It is native to southern Africa and it can now be found growing wild in parts of New Zealand, Australia, Lord Howe Island, the Azores, and on the Central Coast of California.
Senecio elegans is regarded as an environmental weed as this garden escape is primarily a weed of coastal environs, particularly sand dunes, where it spreads rapidly, displacing the indigenous vegetation. 

A seed head.  Seeds are dispersed by wind.

The deeply divided leaves.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/