Ragwort is infamous for its toxicity. Grazers can die if they consume this plant. Therefore, nature managers must make sure that ragwort is not among the mowed vegetation that is sold to farmers as hay. There are two very closely related species of ragwort in the Netherlands: one with ray flowers (Senecio jacobaea jacobaea, left) and one without (Senecio jacobaea dunensis, below). This makes it easy to distinguish the two forms. Nor do the two species grow in the same environment. Jacobaea doesn't tolerate salt; even a salty sea wind is more than it can withstand. Dunensis, on the other hand, grows best on calcium-rich soil in coastal dunes. This plant is only found along the coasts of Northwestern Europe.
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