Information on Silver Ragwort

Common Name: Silver Ragwort
Scientific Name: Senecio cineraria
Irish Name: Buachalán breá
Family Group: Asteraceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Silver Ragwort is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Take a walk sometime along Killiney's Vico Road between June and August and you will encounter a scene which has existed there for little over one century.   The perennial undershrub, Silver Ragwort, covers a lot of the ground above the rocky shoreline with a mass of silvery white leaves and, in the summer, its heads of yellow, daisy-like flowers create a wonderful contrast to those pretty leaves.  The plants grow to a height of 60cm and bear the flowers in dense flat-topped clusters.  Each flower (12-20mm across) has a centre of disc florets surrounded by conspicuous, well-separated ray florets.  The plant is downy all over, seeming to be covered in woolly felt. The leaves are pinnate, darker in colour above and quite light below.  This is an introduced plant belonging to the family Asteraceae. 

My first record of this plant is in 1976 at Killiney, Co Dublin and I photographed it in the same area in 2007.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Ragwort, Silver
Ragwort, Silver

In his Flora of County Dublin (1904), Nathaniel Colgan wrote of the origins of this plant.  He stated that 'the flourishing settlement of this interesting Mediterranean now so fully naturalised on the shores of Killiney Bay originated in a packet of seed sown by Sir Francis Brady, Bart., in his garden at Sorrento Cottage about the year 1875.' He went on to say that 'to-day (the cliffs) are almost completely clothed with dense masses of silvery grey foliage and this remarkable extension is undoubtedly due to the agency of wind-borne seeds'. And now, over one century after Colgan wrote those words, I can say that the luxuriant abundance of this plant is still just as much in evidence as it was in 1904.   However this plant is now one of 24 Terrestial Species on our National Invasive Species Database of Problematic Plant Species *. It is also known by gardeners as 'Dusty Miller'.  

www.invasivespeciesireland.com