Canary Creeper

Senecio angulatus L.f.

Synonyms - Senecio tamoides

Family: Asteraceae


Senecio is from the Latin senex meaning old man and refers to the beard like pappus on the seed.

Other Names:

Cape Ivy
Climbing Groundsel


Senecio angulatus (Canary Creeper) also known as Senecio tamoides, is a fleshy, smooth, hairless, perennial, scrambling vine with stems to 2 m long. The leaves are circular to broadly ovate, 40-70 mm long and wide with coarsely toothed to shallowly lobed margins. The yellow, sweetly scented flower heads are subtended by 5-7 greenish involucral bracts and form large clusters at the ends of the stems. There are 3-6 outer florets with radiating petal-like blades and numerous tubular inner florets.
Canary Creeper is native to South Africa and grown as an ornamental, but is now an occasional weed in moist situations. Recorded for Qld, NSW, Vic, Tas, SA and in WA from Perth, Denmark, Albany and Ravensthorpe. It flowers in winter.
It can be distinguished easily from Senecio madagascariensis (Fireweed) by its scrambling habit, broader leaves, fewer involucral bracts and fewer outer florets. Possibly confused with Delairea odorata (German or Cape Ivy) but the florets of this species lack the spreading ray florets which are seen in Canary Creeper. Some native Tetraonia species are also similar.




First leaves:


Stipules - None.
Petiole - 20-50 mm long. Smooth and hairless. Green. Flattish or grooved on the topside.
Blade - triangular lobed, somewhat fleshy, somewhat shiny. 40-70 mm long x 40-70 mm wide. Veins spreading like fingers. Base squarish. Sides coarsely toothed to palmately lobed. Tip pointed. Hairless.


Slender to 5000 mm and occasionally 10000 mm long forming a loose mat to 300 mm deep. Round, week, evergreen. Green and often purple on side exposed to the sun.

Flower head:

Numerous "flowers" on stalks (corymbose) in a branched arrangement. Flower buds cylindrical and about 3 mm diameter.


Ovary -
Ray florets or "Petals" - Yellow, 3-6 that are 8-10 mm long
Disk florets - Yellow, 10-12 that are 12-15 mm long.
Stamens -
Anthers -
Bracts - 5-7 that are 6-7 mm long with 2-4 smaller bracts below.


Achene, about 2 mm long and smooth.


Crown of hairs, 6-7 mm long on top of seed.


Key Characters:

Leaves somewhat circular to broad-obovate, palmately lobed and veined.
Heads radiate.
Involucre bracts <10.
Marginal florets female.
Disk florets bisexual and more numerous than female florets.
Ligules yellow and 8-10 mm long.
Adapted from Gwen Harden


Life cycle:




By stem fragments and seed.

Flowering times:

April to May in WA.
Winter in NSW.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Stem fragments.



Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread mainly by the dumping of garden refuse.

Origin and History:

South Africa.


Naturalised in the Swan Coastal Plain, Jarrah Forest and Esperance plains regions.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.





Black calcareous sand, grey sands, sandy clay, gravel, limestone.
Moist gullies, cliff faces and disturbed areas

Plant Associations:



Ornamental garden plant.


Weed of disturbed bushland. Scrambles over other vegetation.


No cases of toxicity reported but closely related species cause liver damage after long and continuous consumption by sheep, cattle and horses.





Management and Control:

Avoid dumping garden refuse in bushland or moving soil from infested areas.
If removing manually, collect all stem fragments and burn because these can survive for many months if left on site.
Mowing provides control.


Eradication strategies:

Spray with 500 mL/ha clopyralid (300 g/L) or 200 g/ha clopyralid (750 g/L) plus 0.25% wetting agent.
Spot spray with 10 mL clopyralid (300 g/L) or 4 g clopyralid (750 g/L) plus 25 mL wetting agent in 10 L water.
If removing by hand collect all stem fragments as these will take root if left on site. Burn collected stems.

Herbicide resistance:

None reported.

Biological Control:


Related plants:

African Daisy (Senecio pterophorus)
Bushy Groundsel (Senecio cunninghamii)
Canary Creeper (Senecio angulatus = S. tamoides)
Cape Ivy (Senecio mikanioides = Delairea odorata)
Commonwealth weed (Senecio bipinnatisectus)
Cotton Fireweed (Senecio quadridentatus)
Feathery Groundsel (Senecio anethifolius)
Fireweed (Senecio lautus)
Fireweed Groundsel (Senecio linearifolius)
Fleshy Groundsel (Senecio gregorii)
Hispid Fireweed (Senecio hispidulus)
Holly-leaved Senecio (Senecio glastifolius)
Mountain Fireweed (Senecio gunnii)
Purple Groundsel (Senecio elegans)
Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
Slender Groundsel (Senecio glossanthus)
Squarrose Fireweed (Senecio squarrosus)
Tall Groundsel (Senecio runcinifolius)
Tall Yellowtop (Senecio magnificus)
Senecio daltonii
Senecio madagascariensis
Senecio megaglossus

Plants of similar appearance:

Blue Periwinkle (Vinca major)
Cape Ivy (Delairea odorata) has stipules and no "petals".
Dolichos Pea (Dipogon lignosus) has pea type flowers.
Ivy (Hedera species)
New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonoides)
Sea Spinach (Tetragonia decumbens)
Wandering Jew (Tradescantia albiflora)


Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).

Gardner, G.A. and Bennetts, H.W. (1956). The toxic plants of Western Australia. (West Australian Newspapers Ltd, Perth). P196.

Harden, Gwen J. (1991). Flora of NSW. (Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney). Volume . P307. Diagram.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P104.

Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #919.19

Paczkowska, G. and Chapman, A. (2000). The Western Australia flora: a descriptive catalogue. (Wildflower Society of Western Australia (Inc), the Western Australian Herbarium, CALM and the Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority). P176.

Randall, J.M. and Marinelli, J. (1996) Invasive Plants. (Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Inc. Brooklyn). P. Photo.


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