We are well into October–when the blooming plants start winking out one by one. Thankfully, some plants are still hanging on for us to see.
This week’s plant has a bushy shape. It has many stems that spread out from the base and terminate in many small, lemon-yellow flowers. The flowers are so abundant that it is called the many-headed groudsel—Senecio multicapitatus.
One of the reasons it is special to me is that its color is much lighter than the other, more golden-yellow flowers of fall. The lemon-yellow flowers of Senecio multicapitatus are easily spotted from a moving car, especially since it is frequently found growing on sunny road banks. A close look at the petals reveals that they extend out from a relatively small cluster of disk flowers and the tips of the petals are rounded, not notched or toothed.
As you hike this fall, I hope you enjoy the final flowers of the season. Every year we try to see how many species are still blooming in October, and we would love your help. Please send in either the names or pictures of the flowers you find to our informal plant discussion group. Let’s make this October the best yet for identified blooming plants.