Identifying Common Ragwort

August 2020

Need help checking if a plant is common ragwort? Take a look at our guide below.

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 stage 1




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.

 


Rosette stage 2


 


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

 

 

 

 

SECOND YEAR GROWTH: PLANT STAGE

Ragwort growth stage 1

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




Ragwort growth stage 2

 
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.



Ragwort growth stage 3



 

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

 


ragwort growth stage 4

 
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.

 


Ragwort growth stage 5

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.

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