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Senecio bicolor subsp. cineraria

Subshrub with whitish tomentose leaves and flashy yellow flowers.

Scientific name: Senecio bicolor (Willd.) Tod. subsp. cineraria (DC.) Chater.

Common names: dusty miller, silver ragwort

FamilyAsteraceae (Compositae)

Status in Portugalinvasive species (listed in the Decreto-Lei nº 92/2019, de 10 july)

Risk Assessment score: 19 | Value obtained according to a protocol adapted from the Australian Weed Risk Assessment (Pheloung et al. 1999), by Morais et al. (2017), according to which values above 13 mean that the species has risk of having invasive behavior in the Portuguese territory | Updated on 30/09/2017.

Synonymy: Senecio cineraria DC.

Last update: 11/07/2021


How to recognise it

Woody subshrub up to 50 cm, with white tomentose stems.

Leaves: from 4-5 x 2,5-7 cm, ovate to lanceolatedentate to pinnatisect, white-tomentose in the lower surface, ± tomentose, greenish to glabrescent on the upper surface.

Flowers: yellow, arranged in capitula with12-15 mm diameter, arranged in dense corymbs, with white-tomentose bracts.

Fruitscypselas with white hairs.

Flowering: May to July.


Characteristics that aid invasion

It propagates by seed and its seeds are wind-dispersed.

It also propagates vegetatively, by stem sprouts.

Native distribution area

Central and Oriental Mediterranean region.


Distribution in Portugal

Mainland Portugal (Minho, Douro Litoral, Beira Baixa, Beira Litoral, Estremadura).


Geographic areas where there are records of Senecio bicolor subsp. cineraria

Other places where the species is invasive

Western USA (California).


Introduction reasons

Probably for ornamental purposes.


Preferential invasion environments

Subspontaneous in beach areas and several rocky littoral locations.

Although it’s legally considered as being an invasive, its dispersion in Portugal is relatively limited.

Impacts on ecossystems

It may potentially constitute a threat for native vegetation.


Other impacts

All the parts of the plants are toxic, being noxious for animals.

Controlling an invasive species demands a well-planned management, which includes the determination of the invaded area, identifying the causes of invasion, assessing the impacts, defining the intervention priorities, selecting the adequate control methodologies and their application. Afterwards it is fundamental to monitor the efficiency of the methodologies and recuperation of the intervened area as to perform, whenever necessary, the follow-up control.

The control methodologies used for Senecio bicolor include:


Physical control

Hand pulling: applied to plants of all sizes. Because it is a frequent species in sandy substrates, hand pulling is normally easy. On rocky areas, hand pulling should be done carefully as to avoid release of the rocky substrate.


Visit the webpage How to Control for additional and more detailed information about the correct application of this methodology.


DAISIE European invasive">Invasive Alien species">Species Gateway (2012) Senecio cineraria. Available: http://www.europe-aliens.org/speciesFactsheet.do?speciesId=23608 [Retrieved 10/11/2012].



Gallastegui MH, Prieto JAC (2010) Flora alóctona invasora en BizkaiaInstituto para la Sostenibilidad de Bizkaia, Vizkaya, 196pp.





Marchante E, Freitas H, Marchante H (2008) Guia prático para a identificação de plantas invasoras de Portugal Continental. Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, 183pp.





USDA, NRCS. (2012) The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.  Available: http://plants.usda.gov [Retrieved 10/11/2012].