Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Perennials, 20–80(–100) cm (taprooted or branched caudices surmounting taproots). Herbage sparsely and unevenly tomentose, glabrescent except in leaf axils and among heads. Stems (often purplish-tinged) usually single, sometimes loosely clustered. Leaves ± evenly distributed (basal often withering before flowering); petiolate (sometimes obscurely); blades ovate to broadly ovate (usually 1–3-pinnate, lobes mostly obovate to spatulate), (4–)7–20(–30) × (1–)2–5(–12) cm, bases usually tapered, ultimate margins dentate (distal leaves similar, smaller). Heads (10–)20–60+ in corymbiform arrays. Calyculi of 2–6 (inconspicuous) bractlets (less than 2 mm). Phyllaries ± 13, 3–4(–5) mm, tips black or greenish. Ray florets ± 13; corolla laminae 8–12 mm. Cypselae all sparsely hairy or ray cypselae glabrous. 2n = 40.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

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Ecology

Associations

Foodplant / parasite
velvety colony of Alternaria dematiaceous anamorph of Alternaria dennisii parasitises live stem of Senecio jacobaea
Remarks: season: 9

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
sporangium of Bremia lactucae parasitises live leaf of Senecio jacobaea
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Cheilosia bergenstammi feeds on root of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / parasite
uredium of Coleosporium tussilaginis parasitises live Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / visitor
adult of Conops visits for nectar and/or pollen flower of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / visitor
imago of Drymeia hamata visits for nectar and/or pollen capitulum of Senecio jacobaea
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Ensina sonchi feeds within capitulum of Senecio jacobaea
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Haplothrips senecionis feeds on live flower of Senecio jacobaea
Remarks: season: 5-10

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Icterica westermanni feeds within capitulum of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed pseudothecium of Kalmusia clivensis is saprobic on dead stem of Senecio jacobaea
Remarks: season: 5-6

Foodplant / saprobe
pseudothecium of Leptosphaeria ogilviensis is saprobic on dead stem of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / miner
larva of Liriomyza erucifolii mines leaf of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Longitarsus gracilis grazes on leaf of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Longitarsus jacobaeae grazes on leaf of Senecio jacobaea

Plant / resting place / within
puparium of Melanagromyza aeneoventris may be found in stem of Senecio jacobaea

Plant / resting place / within
puparium of Melanagromyza dettmeri may be found in stem of Senecio jacobaea

Plant / resting place / within
puparium of Melanagromyza eupatorii may be found in stem of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed pseudothecium of Nodulosphaeria derasa is saprobic on dead stem of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / false gall
larva of Noeeta pupillata causes swelling of capitulum of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / miner
larva of Ophiomyia senecionina mines stem of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / saprobe
loosely gregarious, sometimes linearly arranged, covered then projecting pycnidium of Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Phomopsis achilleae var. senecionis is saprobic on dead stem of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / visitor
adult of Physocephala rufipes visits for nectar and/or pollen capitulum of Senecio jacobaea

Plant / resting place / on
puparium of Phytomyza alpina may be found on leaf of Senecio jacobaea
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / sap sucker
adult of Plagiognathus chrysanthemi sucks sap of Senecio jacobaea
Remarks: season: late 6-9(10)

Foodplant / parasite
Podosphaera fusca parasitises live Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / parasite
Podosphaera xanthii parasitises live Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / parasite
aecium of Puccinia dioicae var. schoeleriana parasitises live Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / parasite
telium of Puccinia glomerata parasitises live Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / parasite
telium of Puccinia lagenophorae parasitises live Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / spot causer
amphigenous colony of Ramularia hyphomycetous anamorph of Ramularia filaris var. filaris causes spots on live leaf of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / spot causer
numerous, epiphyllous, immersed, pale brown, perforating pycnidium of Septoria coelomycetous anamorph of Septoria senecionis-silvaticae causes spots on live leaf of Senecio jacobaea
Remarks: season: 7-10

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Sphenella marginata feeds within capitulum of Senecio jacobaea

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Stachybotrys dematiaceous anamorph of Stachybotrys dichroa is saprobic on dead stem of Senecio jacobaea
Remarks: season: 4-9

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Trupanea stellata feeds within capitulum of Senecio jacobaea
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / miner
larva of Trypeta zoe mines leaf of Senecio jacobaea

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Jacobaea vulgaris

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Jacobaea vulgaris

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Senecio jacobaea

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Senecio jacobaea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Wikipedia

Jacobaea vulgaris

"Cushag" and "Ragwort" redirect here. For the Manx poet, see Josephine Kermode. For other uses, see Ragwort (disambiguation).

Jacobaea vulgaris, syn. Senecio jacobaea[2] is a very common wild flower in the family Asteraceae that is native to northern Eurasia, usually in dry, open places, and has also been widely distributed as a weed elsewhere.

Common names include ragwort, common ragwort,[4] tansy ragwort, benweed, St. James-wort, ragweed, stinking nanny/ninny/willy, staggerwort, dog standard, cankerwort, stammerwort, mare's fart and cushag. In the western US it is generally known as tansy ragwort, or tansy, though its resemblance to the true tansy is superficial.

Botanical description[edit]

The plant is generally considered to be biennial but it has the tendency to exhibit perennial properties under certain cultural conditions (such as when subjected to repeated grazing or mowing).[5] The stems are erect, straight, have no or few hairs, and reach a height of 0.3–2.0 metres (1 ft 0 in–6 ft 7 in). The leaves are pinnately lobed and the end lobe is blunt. The many names that include the word "stinking" (and Mare's Fart) arise because of the unpleasant smell of the leaves. The hermaphrodite flower heads are 1.5–2.5 centimetres (0.59–0.98 in) diameter, and are borne in dense, flat-topped clusters; the florets are bright yellow. It has a long flowering period lasting from June to November (in the Northern Hemisphere).

Pollination is by a wide range of bees, flies and moths and butterflies. Over a season, one plant may produce 2,000 to 2,500 yellow flowers in 20- to 60-headed, flat-topped corymbs. The number of seeds produced may be as large as 75,000 to 120,000, although in its native range in Eurasia very few of these would grow into new plants and research has shown that most seeds do not travel a great distance from the parent plant.[6][7]

Taxonomy[edit]

Two subspecies are accepted:

Distribution[edit]

Ragwort is abundant in waste land, waysides and grazing pastures.[8] It can be found along road sides, and grows in all cool and high rainfall areas.

Ragwort is native to the Eurasian continent. In Europe it is widely spread, from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean. In Britain and Ireland it is listed as a weed. In the USA it has been introduced, and is present mainly in the North West and North East: California, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

In South America it grows in Argentina, in Africa in the north, and on the Asian continent in India and Siberia. It is widespread weed in New Zealand and Australia. In many Australian states ragwort has been declared a noxious weed. This status requires landholders to remove it from their property, by law. The same applies to New Zealand where farmers sometimes bring in helicopters to spray their farms if the ragwort is too widespread.

Biological control[edit]

Flowering plant with Cinnabar moth caterpillars

Ragwort is a food plant for the larvae of Cochylis atricapitana, Phycitodes maritima, and Phycitodes saxicolais. Ragwort is best known as the food of caterpillars of the Cinnabar moth Tyria jacobaeae. They absorb alkaloids from the plant and become distasteful to predators, a fact advertised by the black and yellow warning colours. The red and black, day-flying adult moth is also distasteful to many potential predators. The moth is used as a control for ragwort in countries in which it has been introduced and become a problem, like New Zealand and the western United States. In both countries, the ragwort flea beetle (Longitarsus jacobaeae) has been introduced to combat the plant. Another beetle, Longitarsus ganglbaueri, also feeds on Ragwort, but will feed on other plants as well, making it an unsuitable biological control.

Ecological importance[edit]

In the UK, where the plant is native, Ragwort provides a home and food source to at least 77 insect species. Thirty of these species of invertebrate use Ragwort exclusively as their food source[9] and there are another 22 species where Ragwort forms a significant part of their diet.

Drone fly on Ragwort

Furthermore, English Nature identify a further 117 species who use Ragwort as a nectar source whilst travelling between feeding and breeding sites, or between metapopulations.[9] These consist mainly of solitary bees, hoverflies, moths, and butterflies such as the Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).

Besides the fact that Ragwort is incredibly attractive to such a vast array of insects, some of these are very rare indeed. Of the 30 species that specifically feed on Ragwort alone, seven are officially deemed Nationally Scarce. A further three species are on the IUCN Red List. In short, Ragwort is an exclusive food source for ten rare or threatened insect species, including the Picture Winged Fly (Campiglossa malaris), the Scarse Clouded Knot Horn micro moth (Homocosoma nimbella), and the Sussex Emerald micro moth (Thalera fimbrialis).[9] The Sussex Emerald has been labelled a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. A Priority Species is one which is scarce, threatened and declining[10] The remainder of the ten threatened species include three species of Leaf Beetle, another Picture-Winged Fly, and three micro moths. All of these species are Nationally Scarce B, with one Leaf Beetle categorised as Nationally Scarce A.[9]

Without doubt the most common of those species that are totally reliant on Ragwort for their survival is the Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae). The Cinnabar is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan Species, its status described as common and widespread but rapidly declining.[10] Which gives yet more evidence of Ragwort's important role in maintaining the country's biodiversity and a vitally important component of the native flora.

Poisonous effects[edit]

Ragwort contains many different alkaloids, making it poisonous to certain animals. (EHC 80,section 9.1.4). Alkaloids which have been found in the plant confirmed by the WHO report EHC 80 are -- jacobine, jaconine, jacozine, otosenine, retrorsine, seneciphylline, senecionine, and senkirkine (pp322 Appendix II). Other alkaloids claimed to be present but from an undeclared source are acetylerucifoline, (Z)-erucifoline, (E)-erucifoline, 21-hydroxyintegerrimine, integerrimine, jacoline, riddelline, senecivernine, spartioidine, and usaramine.

Ragwort is of concern to people who keep horses and cattle. In areas of the world where ragwort is a native plant, such as Britain and continental Europe, documented cases of proven poisoning are rare. Horses do not normally eat fresh ragwort due to its bitter taste. It loses this taste when dried and can become a danger in hay. The result, if sufficient quantity is consumed, can be irreversible cirrhosis of the liver. Signs that a horse has been poisoned include yellow mucus membranes, depression, and lack of coordination. Animals may also resort to the consumption of ragwort when there is shortage of food. . Sheep and goats suffer the same process of liver destruction but at a reduced rate to horses and pigs.

The danger of Ragwort is that the toxin can have a cumulative effect[citation needed]. The alkaloid does not actually accumulate in the liver but a breakdown product can damage DNA and progressively kills cells. About 3-7% of the body weight is sometimes claimed as deadly for horses, but an example in the scientific literature exists of a horse surviving being fed over 20% of its body weight. The effect of low doses is lessened by the destruction of the original alkaloids by the action of bacteria in the digestive tract before they reach the bloodstream. There is no known antidote or cure to poisoning, but examples are known from the scientific literature of horses making a full recovery once consumption has been stopped.[11][12]

Ragwort poses little risk to the livers of humans since, although it is theoretically poisonous to humans, it is distasteful and is not used as a food. The alkaloids can be absorbed in small quantities through the skin but studies have shown that the absorption is very much less than by ingestion. Also they are in the N-oxide form which only becomes toxic after conversion inside the digestive tract and they will be excreted harmlessly.

Some sensitive individuals can suffer from an allergic reaction because ragwort like many members of the compositae family contains sesquiterpine lactones which can cause compositae dermatitis. These are different from the pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are responsible for the toxic effects.

Honey collected over Ragwort has been found to contain small quantities of jacoline, jacobine, jacozine, senecionine, and seneciphylline, but the quantities have been judged as too minute to be of concern.[13]

Control legislation[edit]

Republic of Ireland[edit]

In the Republic of Ireland, the Noxious Weeds (Thistle, Ragwort, and Dock) Order 1937, issued under the Noxious Weeds Act 1936, declares ragwort as a noxious weed, requiring landowners to control its growth.[14]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) is one of the five plants named as an injurious weed under the provisions of the Weeds Act 1959. The word injurious in this context indicates that it could be harmful to agriculture not that it is dangerous to animals, as all the other injurious weeds listed are non-toxic. Under the terms of this Act, a land occupier can be required by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to prevent the spread of the plant. However, the growth of the plant is not made illegal by the Act and there is no statutory obligation for control placed upon landowners in general.[15]

The Ragwort Control Act 2003 provides for a code of practice on ragwort but does not place any further legal responsibilities on landowners to control the plant.[16]

Other usage[edit]

In ancient Greece and Rome a supposed aphrodisiac was made from the plant; it was called satyrion.

Also, the leaves can be used to obtain good green dye, as yellow dye is obtained from the flowers, as can be done for brown and orange.

Literature, poetry and mythology[edit]

Ragwort thou humble flower

The Greek physician Dioscorides (c.40-90 CE) recommended the herb. The two "fathers" of herbalism, Gerard and Culpeper, also recommended the herb.

The poet John Clare had a more positive opinion of the plant, as revealed in this poem of 1831:

Ragwort thou humble flower with tattered leaves
I love to see thee come and litter gold...
Thy waste of shining blossoms richly shields
The sun tanned sward in splendid hues that burn
So bright and glaring that the very light
Of the rich sunshine doth to paleness turn
And seems but very shadows in thy sight.

The ragwort, under its Manx name Cushag, is the national flower of the Isle of Man [17] According to one story King Orry chose as his emblem the cushag flower, as its twelve petals represent one of the isles of the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles: the Isle of Man itself, Arran, Bute, Islay, Jura, Mull, Iona, Eigg, Rum, Skye, Raasay, and the Outer Hebrides.[citation needed] The ragwort in fact usually has thirteen petals. The Manx poet Josephine Kermode (1852–1937) wrote the following poem about the Cushag.

"The Cushag"

Now, the Cushag, we know,
Must never grow,
Where the farmer's work is done.
But along the rills,
In the heart of the hills,
The Cushag may shine like the sun.
Where the golden flowers,
Have fairy powers,
To gladden our hearts with their grace.
And in Vannin Veg Veen,
In the valleys green,
The Cushags have still a place.

(Vannin Veg Veen is Manx for dear little Isle of Man)

Donald Macalastair of Druim-a-ghinnir on the Isle of Arran told a story of the fairies journeying to Ireland. The ragwort was their transport and every one of them picked a plant, sat astride and arrived in Ireland in an instant.[18]

Cultivation[edit]

Ragwort is not cultivated. There are no known varieties.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). "Taxon: Jacobaea vulgaris Gaertn.". Taxonomy for Plants. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program, National Germplasm. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  2. ^ a b UniProt. "Species Senecio jacobaea" (HTML). Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  3. ^ International Organization for Plant Information (IOPI). "Plant Name Search Results" (HTML). International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  4. ^ "BSBI List 2007" (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  5. ^ Howatt, S. 1989. The toxicity of Tansy Ragwort. Weed Technology 3(2): 436. 
  6. ^ Poole, A. and D. Cairns. 1940. Botanical aspects of ragwort (Senecio jacobaea L.) control. Bulletin of the New Zealand Department of Science and Industrial Research 82: 1-66. 
  7. ^ McEvoy P.B. and Cox C. S. Wind Dispersal Distances in Dimorphic Achenes of Ragwort, Senecio Jacobaea Ecology 68(6) 1987 pp 206-2015 
  8. ^ Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. and Warburg, E.F. 1968. Excursion Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press. ISBN0 521 04656 4
  9. ^ a b c d "Ragwort Fact File". 
  10. ^ a b Butterfly Conservation 2007. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan - moths. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Retrieved August 2011
  11. ^ De Lanux-Van Gorder, V. 2000. Tansy ragwort poisoning in a horse in southern Ontario. Can. Vet. J. 41: 09-410. 
  12. ^ Lessard, P., W. D. Wilson, H. J. Olander, Q. R. Rogers, & V. E. Mendel. 1986. Clinicopathologic study of horses surviving pyrrolizidine alkaloid (Senecio vulgaris) toxicosis. Am. J. Vet. Res. 47: 1776-1780. 
  13. ^ Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1995), Surveillance for pyrrolizidine alkaloids in honey, UK Food Standards Agency, retrieved 2007-08-12 
  14. ^ Ragwort in Ireland
  15. ^ Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Weeds Act 1959, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, retrieved 2007-08-12 
  16. ^ Revised text of the Ragwort Control Act 2003 from Legislation.gov.uk. Accessed on 9 December 2011.
  17. ^ http://www.gov.im/isleofman/facts.xml#flower
  18. ^ Wentz, W. Y. (1911). The Fairy-faith in Celtic Countries. Reprinted. Colin Smythe (1981). ISBN 0-901072-51-6. P. 87.
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Notes

Comments

Senecio jacobaea is a weed introduced from Europe and now well established in places of cool, damp summers. It is toxic to livestock and legally noxious in most states and provinces where it occurs.

The Russian botanist E. Wiebe (2000) resuscitated Jacobaea for plants that are treated here as Senecio jacobaea, S. erucifolius, and S. cannabifolius. Phylogenetic studies may confirm the utility of recognizing Jacobaea as a distinct genus; to do so here would be premature.

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