Senecio suaveolens (L.) Ell.

false Indian-plantain

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

False Indian-plantain is listed as endangered in Connecticut, which hosts the one remaining New England population, though it is more common in the Midwest. It was rediscovered in 1996 after being thought extirpated from New England. It inhabits high-energy river banks. Current threats include invasive plants, deer browsing and habitat loss.

Habitat

Forests, shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
Leaf type
leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
  • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
  • the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower type in flower heads
the flower head has disk flowers only, and lacks the strap-shaped flowers
Ray flower color
NA
Tuft or plume on fruit
at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
200–400 mm
Flower head width
7–11 mm
Disk flower number
  • 11-20
  • 21-50
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bases of bract appendages
    NA
    Bract color
    the bracts are not colored or tinged with with pink, red or purple
    Bract cycle number
    there is one main cycle of bracts
    Bract outer side hair type
    the bracts are not hairy on their outer surface
    Bract outer side hairs
    the bracts are not hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract separation
    the bracts appear completely unconnected to one another on all flower heads
    Bract shape
    • the main bracts are lanceolate (widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip)
    • the main bracts are linear (long and very narrow)
    • the main bracts are oblong (roughly rectangular but rounded at the ends)
    Bract spines
    the bracts have no spines
    Bract texture
    • the bracts appear leathery or hardened
    • the bracts have a similar texture to a leaf
    Bract tip color
    the tips are a different color from the center of the bract
    Bract tip extension appearance
    NA
    Bract tip extension edge
    NA
    Bract tip orientation
    • the bracts are pressed against the plant, or spreading out at the tips
    • the tips of the bracts curve outwards and downwards from the plant
    Bracts
    there are at least two distinct forms of bracts in different cycles
    Disk flower color
    • other
    • pink to red
    • white
    Disk flower lobe number
    5
    Disk flower number
    • 11-20
    • 21-50
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    the disk flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Disk flower shape
    the disk flower is tube-shaped (cylindrical), or gradually widening like a funnel
    Flower head number
    • each flowering stem has four or more flower heads on it
    • each flowering stem has only one to three flower heads on it
    Flower head platform
    the base has no bristles or papery scales
    Flower head platform surface
    NA
    Flower head position
    some or all the flower heads are grouped in clusters of two or more
    Flower head profile
    • the disk is flat or nearly flat across the top
    • the disk is rounded across the top
    Flower head shape
    • the flower head is hemispherical (like the bottom half of a sphere)
    • the sides of the flower head are roughly parallel, like a cylinder
    Flower head width
    7–11 mm
    Flower type in flower heads
    the flower head has disk flowers only, and lacks the strap-shaped flowers
    Height of flower head base
    11–14 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Inflorescence shape
    • the flower heads grow in clusters from the axils of the branches or leaves
    • the inflorescence is flat-topped in profile
    Inflorescence stem
    the stem of the inflorescence is not hairy
    Number of bracts at flower head base
    10–17
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary has five or more corners in cross-section
    Ovary hair type
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary hairs
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary lines or ribs
    • there are seven to nine ribs visible on the ovary
    • there are ten or more ribs visible on the ovary
    Ovary profile
    in profile, the ovary is oblong (roughly rectangular but rounded at the ends)
    Peduncle hair type
    NA
    Peduncle hairs
    the peduncles have no hairs
    Ray flower color
    NA
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Ray flowers
    NA
    Ray length
    0 mm
    Reproductive system
    some of the flowers on the plant have only carpels or stamens, while others have both carpels and stamens
    Scale tip
    NA
    Smaller bracts at base of bracts
    there is no smaller, outer cycle of bracts
    Style branch number
    the style has two branches
    Style branches
    the style branch is wider at the tip and has a flattened end, or the style branches are wider at the tips and have flattened ends
    Width of flower head base
    5–8 mm
  • Fruits or seeds
    Number of pappus parts
    11 or more
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    5–9 mm
    Seed hair tuft color
    the pappus hairs are white or off-white
    Seed hair tuft details
    the pappus hairs are hooked or barbed
    Seed hair tuft length
    6–7 mm
    Seed hairs uniform
    all the pappus hairs are approximately the same length
    Seed tuft type
    the pappus is made of very fine hairs or bristles
    Top of disk flower ovary
    NA
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant has one or more free-standing stems
    Plant lifespan
    the plant is annual, it lacks evidence of previous years' growth
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    there is a thickened taproot on the plant
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    • the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf has a distinct petiole
    • the leaf has no petiole
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf is cordate (heart-shaped) or sagittate (arrow-shaped)
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade hairs
    NA
    Leaf blade length
    200–400 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • NA
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is triangular, with the stalk or attachment point on one of the sides
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base towards the tip
    Leaf disposition
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    • the leaves have leaf stalks
    • the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    At least 0 mm
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Specific leaf type
    • the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis
    • the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • Rhode Island
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Stem internode hair direction
    NA
    Stem internode hair length
    0 mm
    Stem internode hair type
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem internode hairs
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Rhode Island
historical (S-rank: SH), state historical (code: SH)

Native to North America?

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Senecio

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Senecio suaveolens (L.) Ell. nC

false Indian-plantain. Cacalia suaveolens L.; Hasteola suaveolans (L.) Pojark.; Synosma suaveolens (L.) Raf. ex Britt. • CT, MA, RI. River banks and rich, mesic forests, introduced to roadsides to rubbish heaps. This species is native to CT but introduced in MA and likely so in RI.