Description & Overview

Golden Groundsel is a Wisconsin native perennial naturally found in wet meadows, banks of rivers and streams, roadsides, and wet woodlands throughout the state, except for a few western-central and central counties. Bright yellow, daisy-like flowers bloom in April providing a stunning display. An easy-to-grow plant, it can tolerate full sun provided ample moisture is available. It may also be known as Golden Ragwort.

Core Characteristics

Category: Perennial

Wisconsin Native: Yes

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 3

Mature Height: 24-36 inches

Mature Spread: 12-36 inches

Growth Rate: Fast

Growth Form: Upright, rhizomatous, naturalizes

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Site Requirements: Moist to wet, average pH

Flower: Yellow, ½" - 1 ½" wide, 10 - 13 rays

Bloom Period: May – June

Foliage: Dark - green, heart - shaped, long stalks, mostly basal, sometimes purple on the underside

Fall Color: None

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Seed with pappus

Suggested Uses

Have a mucky, shady area that you need help filling? Golden Groundsel is the perfect option since it can handle these conditions like a champ. Its bright yellow flowers bring a nice pop of color. Spreading by rhizomes, it is a great groundcover around pond edges, wet meadows, stream banks, and low-lying areas where little else can withstand excessive moisture. A great alternative to Vinca, Pachysandra, or non-native bedstraw.

Supporting many pollinators, the sunny, cheery flowers are a welcomed sight in spring after a long winter. Incorporating Golden Groundsel into a pollinator, native plant, or wildflower garden is a must provided that it receives ample moisture.

Golden Groundsel is a Wisconsin native perennial naturally found in wet meadows, banks of rivers and streams, roadsides, and wet woodlands throughout …

Wildlife Value

Golden Groundsel attracts small bees such as Little carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), Cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.), and Sweat bees (Lasioglossum spp., Halictus spp.).

A member of the Asteraceae family, probable visitors include: Common Branded Skipper (Hesperia comma), Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala), Eastern-tailed Blue butterfly (Cupido comyntas), Leonard’s Skipper (Hesperia leonardus), Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui), Checkered White (Pontia protodice), Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), American copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Common Checkered Skipper (Burnsius communis), Common Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia), Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus), Arctic Fritillary butterfly (Boloria chariclea), Small Carpenter Bees (Ceratina spp.), Leafcutter Bees (Megachile spp.), Bumblebees (Bombus spp.), Long-horned Bees (Melissodes spp.), Cuckoo Bees (Triepeolus spp.), Green Sweat Bees (Agapostemon spp), Bee flies (Bombylius spp.), Syrphid flies (Syrphus spp., Eristalis spp.), Soldier Bees (Chauliognathus spp.), and Short-winged Meadow Katydid (Conocephalus brevipennis).

It is also a probable host plant to the Northern Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes cocyta), Aster Borer Moth (Papaipema impecuniosa), Reticulated Fruitworm Moth (Sparganothis reticulatana), Pearl Crescent (Phycoides tharos), Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis), Canadian Sonia Moth (Sonia canadana), Arcigera Flower Moth (Schinia arcigera), Confused Eusarca (Eusarca confusaria), Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole), Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella), and The Asteroid (Cucullia asteroides).

Leaf miners may occasionally snack on the leaves; however, this is normal and not detrimental to the overall health of the plant.

Maintenance Tips

Deadhead to control reseeding if spread is not desired. Vegetative offshoots can be removed with ease, if desired.


Black Walnut Tolerant: Yes
Deer Resistant: Yes
Rabbit Resistant: Yes

Foliage is toxic to most mammalian herbivores as the alkaloids Pyrrolizidine, senecine, and senecionine are in its leaves.

Leaf Lore

The genus Packera is named after John G. Packer, a Canadian biosystematist.

The Cherokee used Golden Groundsel as a contraceptive and for heart trouble. The Iroquois gave an infusion of the rosettes to children with fevers and made a decoction of the plant for kidney trouble and broken bones.

With pyrrolizine alkaloids within the plant, scientists no longer recommend this plant for internal use. This alkaloid is known to cause liver damage.

Companion Plants

Plant Golden Groundsel with plants that enjoy similar moist conditions such as Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), Fox Sedge (Carex vulpinoidea), Gray’s Sedge (Carex grayii), Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis), Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra), Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris), Zig Zag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis), Viriginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica), Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia), Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora), Meadow Anemone (Anemone canadensis), White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica), Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea), and Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata).

Golden Groundsel is a Wisconsin native perennial naturally found in wet meadows, banks of rivers and streams, roadsides, and wet woodlands throughout …
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Written by Beth DeLain