Friday, 12 February 2010

Cheerful or toxic?

February can be such a gloomy month. I went out looking in vain for signs of spring and only found a few weak little snowdrops in a Saltaire garden - so puny they weren't even worth a photo! I snapped this glorious burst of ragwort late last summer, on my walk to work. It's a reminder that nature pulses through, even in the most inhospitable surroundings. Such a cheerful little plant. Not being a great botanist, I'm not sure which type of ragwort this is. One type, Oxford Ragwort - senecio squalidus - is native to Sicily but the wind-blown seeds reputedly escaped from specimen plants growing in Oxford Botanic Gardens and spread all over Britain, along the railway network. The native type, Common Ragwort - senecio jacobaea - is toxic to livestock, causing liver damage and it is considered a pernicious weed. Which is a pity, when it's so innocently pretty.

3 comments:

  1. Oh it is good to be back. Such a wonderful picture and such an interesting commentary.

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  2. My uncle was a dairy farmer and I remember spending a day, when I was probably around 12ish, pulling up ragwort from around the edges of a field he had rented from a neighbour. He wanted to graze part of his herd in there.

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  3. It is pretty! I guess there are not too many livestock on that street so it doesn't pose much of a danger.

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