Mystery plant 054

Look for this plant throughout the central and eastern regions of North America.  When you can identify it, please leave a comment with both the common and scientific names.  And share any personal experiences you’ve had with this plant.


Young plant in early spring


Plants developing flower stalks from center


Rising flower stalk with developing flower buds


Inflorescence with flowers in various stages


Composite flower head


Leaf growing along stem


Leaves in summer




ANSWER (subsequently added to this post to facilitate the “search” function for these images): Golden ragwort (Packera aurea)

Also, read the blog post and watch the plant portrait video for Golden ragwort (Packera aurea).

This entry was posted in Mystery plant. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Mystery plant 054

  1. Rivyr says:

    It is Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)

  2. Joan says:

    My guess is Butterweed (Packera glabella) aka Smooth Ragwort or Yellowtop

  3. Evan Raskin says:

    I’m going with golden ragwort (Packera aurea)

  4. Mike Krebill says:

    Agree with Even Raskin: Golden Ragwort, Packera aurea.

  5. Val says:

    I will go with Senecio obovatus which I first learned by its non-PC name, Squaw-weed, and later, as Roundleaf Ragwort. It grows well in dry shade, and I am currently trying to establish it there as a groundcover, but I’ll bet it would grow well in slightly better conditions, too!

  6. Evan Raskin says:

    (formerly Senecio areus, among others. See The Plant List for complete synonymy:

  7. I will not commit myself further than to hazard Senecio Species 🙂

  8. Josh Fecteau says:

    I think the mystery plant is Packera aurea commonly known as Golden Groundsel or Golden Ragwort. I recall first observing this plant growing in wet ground along a small stream in Plainville, MA. I was stumped for weeks until the plant finally flowered.

    • Angelyn says:

      Josh, I had a similar challenge the first time I met this plant. In fact, I kept waiting for the purple flowers to bloom because I was so sure that the purple buds could only yield a purple flower!

  9. Angelyn says:

    There are some great responses here. What is now the genus Packera, used to be called Senecio.

    This mystery plant is Golden ragwort (Packera aurea) as noted by Evan Raskin, Mike Krebill and Josh Fecteau.

    When I checked out Joan’s suggestion, I noticed that P. glabella (Butterweed) has a different leaf shape — both with the basal leaves and the stem leaves. When I looked at Val’s plant, my observation (limited by the few photos I found) of P. obovata (Roundleaf ragwort) is that the basal leaves are very similar to Golden ragwort’s leaves. Accompanying descriptions refer to “oval-shaped” leaves for P. obovata while P. aurea has “heart-shaped” leaves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.