Ragwort Identification

Common ragwort identification

What does Ragwort look like?

Ragwort is a biennial plant, meaning it flowers in its second year. It has clusters of yellow flat disc flowers and feathery leaves. Although favoured by some species of moths and caterpillars, it is extremely poisonous to livestock and horses.

Growth cycle

Flowering from June to October, Ragwort can grow up to 90cm high and will flourish in a variety of soils, including poor quality land, wasteland, beside motorways and roadsides. 

Ragwort identification gallery

Hoary Ragwort showing foliage

Hoary Ragwort with green foliage

Ragwort flowers and flower heads

Close-up of Ragwort flower heads and buds

Green leaves of ragwort plant

Close-up of ragwort leaves

ragwort blooming in summer

Example of how Ragwort can take over an entire field. Flowers in full bloom, some with seed (white fluffy fruit) ready to be dispersed by the wind.

19 species of Ragwort

Common ragwort, (Senecio jacobaea) is the most common native species of ragwort in the UK but there are in fact 19 species total, including:
  • Fen Ragwort (Senecio poludosus);
  • Hoary Ragwort (Senecio erucifoliusci);
  • Marsh Ragwort (Senecio aquatics);
  • Oxford Ragwort (Senecio squalidus).
field of invasive ragwort

Field of invasive Ragwort, growing along side Hogweed.

Groundsel (Senecio Vulgaris)

Groundsel is another species of Senecio, (Senecio vulgaris) which is similar to ragwort but with rayless flowers (lacking petals), rather than the sprays of yellow flowers produced by ragwort seen in these pictures. 

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