Ragwort seedlings appear from autumn to June and are usually spotted when the leaves are around 10 - 15mm long, although they often go unnoticed until they reach the 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 themiddle. 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, creating a deep-rooting plant.