Abstract: The cosmopolitan weed Senecio vulgaris var. vulgaris is likely to have originated from the non-weedy S. vulgaris ssp. denticulatus from which it differs by showing no seed dormancy, by completing its life cycle from germination to seed formation much faster and by lacking ray florets. An F2 generation of 120 individuals obtained through selfing of one hybrid individual between var. vulgaris and ssp. denticulatus was used to construct a linkage map based on RAPD polymorphisms and the presence or absence of ray florets. This linkage map was used for a QTL analysis of 12 characters distinguishing the two taxa. For seven of these 12 characters, three significant QTLs could be found. One of these QTLs controls the speed of development, height of plants, leaf number, number of lateral branches and number of outer involucral bracts. A second QTL, located in the same linkage group, coincides with the ray floret locus and controls the number of disc florets. Plant height and leaf number are controlled by a third QTL in a different linkage group. Considering earlier evidence on the genetics of seed dormancy, it is argued that probably only three chromosomal regions, or even genetic loci, control seed dormancy, speed of development and presence or absence of ray florets as the ecologically most important differences between var. vulgaris and ssp. denticulatus. These findings have important implications for the genetics of evolutionary change and speciation.