Uinta Groundsel (Lobeleaf Groundsel; Basin-butterweed)
Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora – Compositae) – Sunflower Family
Perennial, biennial or winter annual herbs from a taproot; stems 3.9” to 2.6' (1 to 8 dm) tall; the juice watery
Leaves: alternate and basal; simple (pinnatifid); basal leaves 0.08” to 4.8” (2 to 12 cm) long, 0.12” to 1.4” (0.3 to 3.5 cm) wide; leaves reduced going upwards along stem
Flowers: 7 to 13 yellow ray flowers 0.16” to 0.4” (4 to 10 mm) long or lacking; yellow disk flowers, disk 0.24” to 0.6” (6 to 15 mm) wide; involucres 1.6” to 3.6” (4 to 9 cm) high, 0.16” to 0.4” (4 to 10 mm) wide; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite)
Pollinators: other Senecio species are pollinated by insects
Fruits: achene – 1 seeded with hard shell
Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: park road mile 0 to 2.5, Salt Valley
Other: The genus name, "Senecio”, is from the Latin “senex” which means “old man” referring to the fine white hairs on the seeds that resemble an old man's beard. The species name, “multilobatus”, means “many-lobed” which describes the leaves.
This family is the most advanced and complex of the dicots. The family is rich in oils and resins and is found in every part of the world, but is infrequent in the tropical rainforest. Aquatic or semi-aquatic species are also uncommon.
Did You Know?
Lizards, including the colorful collared lizard, are one of the most frequently seen animals at Arches. When not chasing flies or basking in the sun, they are often seen doing what appears to be push-ups. This odd dance might enhance their stereoscopic vision, helping them see what's looking back at them.