Name: Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris)
Other names: common ragwort, stinking willie, tansy ragwort, benweed, St. James-wort, stinking nanny/ninny/willy, staggerwort, dog standard, cankerwort, stammerwort.
Description: 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). 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).
Distribution: 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 United States it has been introduced, and is present mainly in the northwest and northeast: 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 a widespread weed in New Zealand and Australia.
Fun fact: Ragwort is covered by the Weeds Act 1959 (which specifies five injurious weeds including common ragwort) and the Ragwort Control Act 2003
Dymadex's entries on plants, living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses.
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