Asteraceae / Aster
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Lore: The Cherokees used Golden Ragwort tea for heart trouble and to prevent pregnancy.(Hamel/Chiltoskey)Other Native Americans and early settlers used it to regulate menses, to aid childbirth, treat urinary problems and to treat lung diseases such as tuberculosis.(Foster & Duke) (Dobelis)
Uses: Herbalist may still recommend a root tea from this plant for some conditions such as urinary problems. It has
been studied and found to have little if any value for urinary problems. It is known to increase blood pressure and
stimulate uterine contractions. In any case, this plant should not be consumed due to the toxic alkaloid pyrrolizidine it
Warning: This plant may contain highly toxic alkaloids associated with liver damage and cancer.(Foster & Duke) (Dobelis)
Species: Roundleaf Ragwort (Packera obovata / Senecio obvatus) has obovate basal leaves. It is found throughout our area on rocky
slopes. Woolly Ragwort (Packera tomentosa / Senecio tomentosus) has brighter yellow flowers and narrow basal
leaves that are very downy when young. It is found in open woods and fields of the costal plain. Prairie Groundsel
(Packera plattensis / Senecio plattensis) is a much smaller plant reaching less than 40cm (16") and retains a
covering of down especially on the underside of the basal leaves. It is found on in dry prairies and slopes. Small's
Ragwort AKA Southern Ragwort (Packera anonyma / Senecio anonymus / Senecio smallii) has narrow basal leaves
tapering at both ends and often pinnately lobed toward the stem and a stem wooly at the base. The flowers are about
1.3cm (0.5") wide. It is common east of the Mississippi in fields, borders and open woods. Piedmont Ragwort
(Packera millefolia / Senecio millefolium) has twice pinnately devided leaves resulting in very narrow leaf parts
thus the name which translates to 'thousand-leaf'. It is found on cliffs of the southern Blue Ridge.
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves