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Identifying Common Ragwort

Ragwort usually lives for two years; its first year of growth is as a rosette and then flowers the following year.

  • Last reviewed: 15th August 2022
Ragwort Ragwort

Seedlings

Ragwort seedlings appear from autumn to June and are usually spotted when around 10-15mm high, although they often go unnoticed until they reach rosette stage. They have a spade-shaped leaf that is notched at the top.

First year growth: Rosette stage

Rosette growth can vary greatly. As the rosette develops, the leaves look irregular with jagged edges. Rosettes are often dark green but can be tinged with purple.

Even at rosette stage, roots are numerous, relatively thick and can be quite tough.

Second year growth: Plant stage

Flowers usually appear from June to late October. Plants have large, flat-topped heads of dense yellow daisy-like flowers that can be extensive.

Seeds ripen in July/August and are normally shed from September onwards. One plant can produce thousands of seeds, which can lie dormant for years.

Leaves are dark green and quite tough. They may be sparsely hairy on the lower side. Leaves are deeply divided with irregular, jagged edges.

Stems are tough and often tinged red near the base but are brighter green and branched near the middle. An adult plant can grow between 30-100cm tall.

Established plants have a spreading roots system. Roots may branch and spread quickly, with additional roots also produced by individual branches. Ragwort is a deep-rooting plant.

What to do if there is Ragwort on neighbouring land

For horse owners and landowners, it can be extremely frustrating when you spend hours of time and money keeping your pastures and forage production land clear of ragwort, but are being affected due to the spread of ragwort from neighbouring land.

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Grazing