Senecio angulatus

Senecio angulatus, also known as creeping groundsel[6] and sometimes as Cape ivy,[7] is a succulent plant from the family Asteraceae of the genus Senecio that is native to South Africa.[8] It is a scrambling[9] and a twining herb[10] that can become an aggressive weed once established, making it an invasive species in some countries.[4] However, it is grown as an ornamental plant for its satiny foliage and sweet-scented flowers.[11]

Senecio angulatus
Senecio angulatus trailing.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Senecio
S. angulatus
Binomial name
Senecio angulatus
L.f. (1781)
Range of Senecio angulatus-Native.svg
Native range of S. angulatus

Senecio macropodus DC.
Sources: IPNI,[1] AFPD,[2] GRIN,[3] NZPND,[4] ALUKA[5]

Senecio angulatus can be distinguished vegetatively from Delairea odorata by the lack of lobes at the leaf stalk base, the fleshy leaf surface and the outwardly curved leaf teeth.[4] Senecio tamoides has been misapplied in Australia and is currently considered to be Senecio angulatus.[12]


Leaves and stemsEdit

Leaves of S. angulatus.

Its form is a dense tangled shrub 2 metres (6.6 ft) tall[13] or a climber that can reach 6 metres (20 ft) high, if suitable support is available.[10] The leaves are 3.7 centimetres (1.5 in) to 22 centimetres (8.7 in) long and 1 centimetre (0.39 in) to 14 centimetres (5.5 in) wide and occur in 1-4 pairs. They are thick, glossy, fleshy and coarsely toothed, with one to three teeth each side[4] and bluntly lobed,[13] with upper leaves becoming smaller with fewer teeth or none at all.[4] They have a frosted look from a powdery coating on the lower side.[5]

Leaf stalks are 1 centimetre (0.39 in) to 4 centimetres (1.6 in) long.[14] The leaves have stalks or stems which embrace the larger leaf surface which is not lobed, oval to triangularly shaped or very blunt to pointed at the tips and blunt to flat at the base. The leaves have a frosted look from a powdery coating on the lower side.[5]

The stems are succulent, pale green, and are often variegated with pale yellow green and purple. They are slightly angular[5] (not upright) and usually sparingly branched.[4] Neither stems nor leaves are hairy.[4][5][14]


Flowers of S. angulatus.

Senecio angulatus produces numerous flowers[5] in open clusters at the end of its branches or stems.[4] The strongly scented flowers are on an elongated stem that continue to open in succession from the base up as the stem continues to grow. The mass of clusters end more flat at the top than pyramid-like,[5] and are 4 centimetres (1.6 in) to 8 centimetres (3.1 in) in diameter.[14] Often the cluster droops with the flower heads at the end of the cluster turning upwards.[5]

Flower stalks are mostly hairless or with some short hairs, 6.5 millimetres (0.26 in) to 10.5 millimetres (0.41 in) long. Flower heads are attached to flower stalk by fine pointed 8-11 bracts 5 millimetres (0.20 in) to 6 millimetres (0.24 in)[4] which are surrounded by 4-7 pale green and sometimes purple tinged at the base supplementary bracts, 1.5 millimetres to 2.5 millimetres which make a cup shape around the base of the involucre.[5] Each stalk is capable of producing 10-15 disc florets.[14]

Flower-heads are radiate and urn-shaped.[14] Ray florets are nearly always absent.[5] When they occur, there is a yellow ligule. The corolla has a yellow disc[4] surrounded by 4–6 dull golden yellow disc florets 5.5 millimetres (0.22 in) to 9.5 millimetres (0.37 in) long with hairless tubes, a slight expansion below the middle and lobes 1.3 millimetres to 2 millimetres wide.[5] S. angulatus flower heads have rays[4] (that look like petals) that make it more daisy-like[13] unlike D. odorata which doesn't.[14]

It flowers from April to May in Southern Africa[10] and May to July in Australia and New Zealand.[14]

Fruits and reproductionEdit

Creeping groundsel is easily dispersed by wind-blown seed, stem fragments, and dumped garden waste.[13] Achenes are 3 millimetres to 4 millimetres long,[4][5] ribbed or grooved with short hairs in the grooves[4][5] and a tapering cylindrical shape.[4][14] The parachute-like hairs, the pappus, are 5 millimetres to 7 millimetres long.[4][14]


The plant is predominantly cultivated in North Africa, the Mediterranean Basin and the Levant.[15][16] In Queensland, climbing groundsel may have increased in popularity following the Boer War, as there were anecdotal accounts that it was introduced from South Africa by the soldiers who returned to Australia after 1902. Moreover, it was displayed in garden pillars in Brisbane newspapers between 1906 and 1910, praising the plant for the beauty of both its foliage and its yellow clusters of blooms.[17]

The plant grows in USDA hardiness zones 9a through 11b and is medium to fast-growing. Very drought tolerant, it would flourish better with some water in the summer and would bloom more often in full sun. It can grow indoors as a houseplant, provided it gets some sunlight. Pruning is necessary as the plant can become limp when it gets taller. Pests include aphids.[18] Propagation can be done by cuttings (as the plant easily roots from the branch tips), and this is to be conducted between spring and fall (since it is somewhat winter dormant).[19][20] Seeds prefer consistent moisture and warm temperatures to germinate. Annual fertilisation is necessary, though not mandatory.

Creeping specimen in Tunisia
Specimen climbing on a balcony wall in Spain
Potted specimen with flowers


It is native to the Cape Province in South Africa, but is naturalized in parts of South Italy, France, Portugal and some coastal areas in southeastern Australia.[2][14] It is invasive New Zealand and Victoria, Australia.[9][21] Because it is aggressive, it can smother the existing native vegetation both in the ground layer and canopy, thus altering the light climate in the invaded community and sometimes suppress the regeneration of native plants.[13]


Southern Africa: South Africa (Cape Province)


East Tropical Africa: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania
Southern Africa: South Africa
Australia: Western Australia (Esperance Plains, Warren, Swan Coastal Plain),[10] New South Wales (South Coast and Mid North Coast), southern Victoria and Tasmania.
New Zealand: New Zealand North, New Zealand South (Nelson City, Wairau Bar (Marlborough), Banks Peninsula)
Northern Africa: Tunisia, Libya[22] and Algeria[23]
Macaronesia: Canary Islands (Gran Canaria, Hierro, Tenerife), Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca, Menorca)
Southwestern Europe: Corsica, Channel Islands, Spain, France & Monaco, Portugal
Southeastern Europe: Italy, Sardinia, Sicily, Albania, Croatia and surrounding islands[22]

Sources: GRIN,[3] ALUKA,[5] FBAF,[10] NSWF,[14] NZPND,[4] BGB[16]


Creeping groundsel prefers soils of black calcareous and grey sand, sandy clay and limestone. It finds homes with these soils in coastal areas on cliff faces, mudflats, wet depressions in dunes, near swamps,[10] in landfills, scrubland and near settlements[14], especially near the sea.[4]

Common namesEdit

  • English: Creeping groundsel[6], garden senecio, mile-a-minute, scrambling groundsel
  • French: Séneçon anguleux[16] (senecio angular)
  • Italian: senecio rampicante (creeping senecio)
  • Spanish: la hiedra del Cabo, senecio hiedra (cape ivy, senecio ivy)
  • Xhosa: inDindilili[7]
  • Arabic: الشيخة القريض, الشيخة الزحف القريض, دعسة القطة‎ (cat's footprint, climbing groundsel)



  1. ^ "Senecio angulatus". International Plant Names Index (IPNI). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  2. ^ a b "Senecio angulatus L.f. record n° 97995". African Flowering Plant Database. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  3. ^ a b "Senecio angulatus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Landcare Research. "Senecio angulatus L.f. Suppl. 369 (1781)". Flora of New Zealand: Taxa. Landcare Research Allan Herbarium and New Zealand Plant Names Database. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Senecio angulatus L.f." 2006-01-13. Retrieved 2008-03-31.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b Muyt, Adam (2001). Bush invaders of south-east Australia: a guide to the identification and control of environmental weeds in south-east Australia. R.G. and F.J. Richardson. pp. 304 pages. ISBN 0-9587439-7-5. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  7. ^ a b Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). "Page 2456". CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-2673-7. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
  8. ^ "Senecio angulatus L.f." July 1931. Archived from the original on 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  9. ^ a b "Cape ivy (Senecio angulatus)". Controlling problem weeds in riparian zones. Greater Wellington Regional Council. 2004. Archived from the original on October 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Western Australian Herbarium (2007-09-11). "Senecio angulatus L.f." FloraBase. Government of Western Australia. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  11. ^ La Concepción y sus doce embajadoras by La Opinión de Málaga
  12. ^ Western Australian Herbarium (2007-09-11). "Senecio angulatus L.f." FloraBase. Government of Western Australia. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  13. ^ a b c d e Tom Forney, Steve Hurst (2007). "Kudzu Pueraria lobata" (PDF). Government of Oregon. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l National Herbarium of New South Wales. "Senecio angulatus L." New South Wales FloraOnline. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  15. ^ "Parks where cultivated Senecio angulatus". Institut Botànic de Barcelona. Retrieved 2008-03-31.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ a b c Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem. "Details for: Senecio angulatus". Euro+Med PlantBase. Freie Universität Berlin. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  17. ^ Climbing Groundsel (Senecio angulatus) by Weeds of Melbourne, July 10, 2019
  18. ^ Climbing Groundsel (Senecio angulatus) by Weeds of Melbourne, July 10, 2019
  19. ^ Senecio angulatus (Climbing Groundsel) by World of Succulents, August 30, 2013
  20. ^ Creeping or climbing groundsel (Senecio angulatus) by Eurobodalla Shire Council
  21. ^ Weeds of Australia (Biosecurity Queensland Edition). "Senecio angulatus L. f." Queensland Government. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
  22. ^ a b Senecio angulatus (Creeping Groundsel) by Stephen Mifsud
  23. ^ Apparition de Senecio angulatus (Asteraceae) en Algérie by M. D. Miara, L. Boutabia, S. Telaïlia & E. Vela, 3 September 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2020

External linksEdit