Packera plattensis (Prairie Ragwort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Prairie Groundsel
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; dry, sandy prairie
Bloom season:May - August
Plant height:12 to 16 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] Flowers form in a cluster, often flat across the top in profile, the stalks stout and attached laterally along the upper inch or two of the main stem. The flowers are about ¾ inch across, daisy like with golden yellow centers and 8 to 12 rays (petals). The narrow floral bracts are green, woolly hairy at the base.

[photo of flower stalks] Lateral stalks are often branched, and several clusters can form at the top of the plant and upper leafs axils. Small sharp scale-like bracts attend the base of each stalk as well as on the stalk itself. Stalks are variously covered in woolly or cobwebby hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of basal leaves] Earliest basal leaves are small and oval on a slender stalk with rounded or sharply toothed edges and often deep purple on the stalk and underside, but quickly becoming broader and longer lance shaped with deep lobes on lower stem. Mature basal leaves are up to 3 inches long and ½ inch wide, on a stalk up to 4 inches long.

[photo of stem leaf] Midstem leaves are long and narrow lance shaped with sharp deep lobes, nearly clasping the stem, becoming significantly reduced above. Stems are unbranched except in the flower clusters, more or less densely covered in fine, white cobwebby hairs, may become less hairy with age.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a small, round dandelion type plume of small brown seed with a tuft of swirled white hairs (pappus) to carry them off in the wind.


Prairie Ragwort, formerly Senecio plattensis, is the predominant Packera species of dry open prairie in Minnesota. Most similar to Balsam Ragwort (Packera paupercula) that inhabits wetter habitats, Balsam Ragwort can be distinguished by its overall less hairy appearance and the mostly unbranched flower stalks.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Lost Valley SNA, Washington County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Dakota and Washington counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Deb - Richard T Anderson park, Eden Prairie
on: 2014-05-29 22:07:05

Sandy bluff hillside prairie blooming May 25, 2014.

Posted by: Molly Stoddard - Fergus Falls
on: 2020-06-01 16:20:27

One-Mile Lake Prairie now blooming

Posted by: Jesse - Buffalo River STate Park
on: 2020-06-14 17:17:19

Handful of these guys blooming throughout buffalo river state park on June 14, 2020.

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