Flat-leaved senecio

Flat-leaved senecio

Flat-leaved senecio

Specification & Spread

Flat-leaved senecio herb — herba senecionis platyphylloidis
Flat-leaved senecio — senecio platyphylloides somm. Et levier ( = adenostyles platyphylloides (somm. Et levier) czer.)
Composite family – asteraceae (compositae)
Other names: eared groundsel, ragwort.

It is a perennial herbaceous plant 50-150 (250) cm tall with an erect, unbranched single stem and a long horizontal rhizome with numerous roots.
The basal and lower stem leaves are long-petiolate, very large, triangular-bud-shaped with deeply fibrous base and unequal-toothed margin, dense, glabrous above, dark green, lighter from below, pubescent, peculiar outgrowths of lobes are well-defined («ears»); the middle and upper leaves gradually decrease and its petioles shorten, upper leaves ovate or ovate-lanceolate, almost sessile.
The baskets are small, numerous, collected in the apical corymbose-paniculate inflorescence.
All flowers (10-15) in a basket are tubular, bisexual, with a yellow corolla.
The fruit is an achene with tuft.

It blooms in June – August, the fruits ripen in July – September.

Spreading. Flat-leaved senecio – an endemic to the Caucasus. The main part of its range is limited to the limits of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. In addition, three large fragments of the range are located in Transcaucasia. The main area of


All parts of flat-leaved senecio contain:

  • alkaloids, pyrrolizidine derivatives.

In the herb prevails:

  • alkaloid platifillin,
  • senecifylline alkaloid and N-oxides of these alkaloids are found in a small amount.

In the underground organs:

  • the content of alkaloids is higher than in the herb, but due to the depletion of the wild thickets of the rhizomes of the rhizome with the roots are not currently harvested.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The herb is harvested during the flowering season, beginning with the budding phase. It is cut at a level of 15-20 cm from the surface of the soil, trying not to damage the rhizomes, and immediately taken to the place of drying.

It is necessary to distinguish flat-leaved senecio from other types that do not contain platyphyllin, in particular, from a morphologically similar species found in the same habitats — rhomb-leaved groundsel (Senecio rhombifolius (Adams) Sch. Bip. = Adenostyles macrophylla (Bieb.) Czer.). It is somewhat lower in height (rarely reaches 100 cm), its leaves do not have «ears», 5-6 baskets are flowered.

Security measures. The harvesting on the same area is allowed no more than 1 time in 2 years. It is forbidden to cut off the grass with your hands, since rhizomes and roots are pulled out at the same time, which leads to the death of plants and the destruction of thickets.

Drying. Heat drying at a temperature of 45-50 ºС. Either the whole raw material is dried, or, before drying, it is crushed into straw cutters into pieces up to 3 cm long.

Whole raw materials

Whole or partially crushed leafy stems with inflorescences and individual leaves.
The stems are longitudinal and ribbed, from 50 to 150 cm long.
The basal and lower stem leaves are long-petiolate, triangular-bud-shaped, acuminate at the apex, deep-heart-shaped at the base, irregularly toothed along the edge, up to 20 cm long and 40 cm wide.

The average stem leaves on short petioles, at the base have large «ears», are similar in shape to the lower ones, but smaller. The upper leaves are lanceolate. All leaves on top are bare, dark green, under pubescent. On the tops of the stems there are corymbose inflorescences consisting of small yellow tubular flowers, enclosed in numerous baskets.

The basket cover is double-rowed. It consists of 1-3 small styloid outer leaflets and 5-8 inner ones.
The smell of raw materials is weak, unpleasant. The taste is not determined(!).

Milled raw materials

The pieces of stems, leaves and inflorescences of various shapes up to 3 cm in size.
The colour of the raw material is dark or brownish green, with a white core visible on the break of the stem.

Properties and application

Pharmacological properties of groundsel
Platyfillin has an M-anticholinergic action.
The effect on peripheral M-cholinergic receptors is close to atropine and scopolamine, but less active.


  • less excites the heart and inhibits the secretory activity of the glands,
  • but stronger than atropine, acts on the M-cholinergic receptors of the autonomic ganglia.
  • The central nervous system (vasomotor center) has a moderate sedative effect. Platyfillin, in addition to M-anticholinergic action, has myotropic antispasmodic effect.

Application of groundsel

In medical practice platyfillin hydrotartrate is prescribed for:

  • smooth muscle spasms of the abdominal organs,
  • gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer,
  • bronchial asthma; the preparation also decreases:
  • blood vessel spasms (with hypertension, angina),
  • spasms of cerebral vessels.

In ophthalmic practice is used for:

  • pupil dilation.

Compared with atropine, platyfillin causes mild mydriasis for 5–6 hours without accompanying accommodation paralysis.

For the relief of acute ulcerative pain, as well as intestinal, hepatic, renal colic, platyfillin is injected under the skin:
to facilitate tracheal intubation during endotracheal anesthesia and for more complete relaxation of muscles during surgical interventions under anesthesia with artificial ventilation of the lungs.

It is also used to immobilize the eyeball in ophthalmosurgery.

It is contradicted with glaucoma, chronic circulatory disorders, with organic liver and kidney diseases, pregnancy, lactation period.