More unusual members of Asteraceae (part 4)

Close up from our Common Knapweed or Centaurea nigra.
The main heading of my wonderful weed blog is of Greater Knapweed or Centaurea scabiosa! See further in today’s block to learn about all the virtues of this genus.

Today I will write the last part on our native Asteraceae or ‘composites’ and daisy family in common terms. All known medicinal uses and other uses are mentioned.

On the end of this post all the links to the posts I’ve done so far about this large family!

In the last post I covered with what we see as the common daisies: yellow centred disk flowered with a ray of white florets as well as a few other composites or Asteraceae.

This time we start with plants we don’t immediately associate with the composites, but closely observed we find always the common combination of many disc florets, surrounded or not with ray florets.

Then finishing off with the other typical group of the Asteraceae which are the various ‘dandelion like’ flower members!

Most medical information again from the Medicinal Flora by J. Barker. The links to the scientific and common name provide also with good, general information about the plants!

There is a green background for the text if the plant is edible, ornamental or otherwise useful for wildlife, etc. Pink background is either as a warning or medicinal use. Blue background for interesting facts! To make the post more colourful I have given the plant a background of the flower colour!




Tussilago farfara or Coltsfoot

Petasitis albus or White Butterbur & P. hybridus or Butterbur

  • P. japonicus or Giant Butterbur
  • P. pyrenaicus or Winter Heliotrope

Jacobaea vulgaris ( syn. Senecio jacobaea) or Common Ragwort

Senecio vulgaris or Groundsel

  • S. cambrensis or Welsh Groundsel
  • S. doria or Golden Ragwort (Neophyte)
  • S. doronicum or Chamois Ragwort (Neophyte)
  • S. eboracensis or York Ragwort
  • S. glastifolius or Woad-leaved Ragwort (Neophyte)
  •  S. inaequidens or Narrow-leaved Ragwort (Neophyte)
  • S. minimus or Toothed Fireweed (Neophyte)
  • S. ovatus or Wood Ragwort (Neophyte)
  • S. sarracenicus or Broad-leaved Ragwort (Neophyte)
  • S. smithii or Magellan Ragwort (Neophyte)
  • S. squalidus or Oxford Ragwort (Neophyte)
  • S. sylvaticus or Heath Groundsel
  • S. vernalis or Eastern Groundsel (Neophyte)
  • S. viscosus or Sticky Groundsel (Neophyte)

Calendula officinalis or Pot Marigold

Calendula arvensis or Field Marigold (Neophyte)

Carlina vulgaris or Carline Thistle

Arctium lappa or Greater Burdock & A. minus or Lesser Burdock

Arctium tomentosum or Woolly Burdock

Silybum marianum or Milk Thistle

Centaurea nigra or Lesser Knapweed, C. scabiosa or Greater Knapweed & C. cyanus or Cornflower

Cichorium intybus or Chicory/Wild Succory

Hypochoeris radicata or Cat’s-ear

Tragopogon pratensis or Goat’s-beard & Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon Sonchus oleraceus or Smooth Sow-thistle & S. asper or Spiny Sow-thistle

Lactuca virosa or Wild Lettuce

Taraxacum aggr.  or Dandelion

Lapsana communis or Nipplewort

Hieracium  sps. or Hawkweed

Pilosella officinarum  or  Mouse-ear Hawkweed & P. aurantiaca or Fox-and-Cubs

Continue reading “More unusual members of Asteraceae (part 4)”

Asteraceae and some more scientific background (part 2)

The post on Asteraceae went through the entire classification and might have been a little tedious for you?

However, I do hope you find it fascinating like myself how classification does make sense, especially in large families such as the Composites or Asteraceae.

It neatly groups similar looking plants together and when these plants ‘look similar’ they most likely also have the same properties and uses.

This week we start with the uses of this family.

Of course weeds or native plants as I like to call them, are ALWAYS useful in any habitat situation, soil and indeed for other living creatures apart from ourselves.

When we pull out the dandelion or ragwort we are taking away a valuable food source for multiples of creatures. Is it really worth that?

In the following few blogs about this family I once again will copy a lot of interesting information from ‘The Medicinal Flora of Britain and Northwestern Europe’ by J. Barker.  Please get a copy for yourself as you won’t regret it!

Here are links to all the different posts on Asteraceae:


General Information and

Introduction to the Composites by Julian Barker

  • their anatomy

Some main crops and their uses:

  • as food and fodder
  • as dye
  • as ornamental

Medicinal Uses

Xanthium strumarium or Common Cocklebur

Continue reading “Asteraceae and some more scientific background (part 2)”