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Ragwort: The Bitter Sweet Killer

by Oliver Humphrey

The word “Ragwort” creates something of a similar effect on equestrian and livestock farmers that the name “Voldemort” does to young children at bedtime…

Native to Northern Eurasia, Ragwort or Jacobaea Vulgaris is a common wild flower typical found in dry, open pastures. This definition, courtesy of Google, omits the vital point that it is a toxic weed as specified within the Weeds Act of 1959, containing toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Consumed by grazing animals – horses, cattle, sheep, goats, it is a potential killer and as a result needs to be closely controlled.


This article will help you to understand:

  • What are the ‘Illegal’ Weeds under the Weeds Act of 1959?
  • Why is Ragwort dangerous?
  • With whom does the responsibility for Ragwort lie?
  • What do you do if a neighbour is failing to control Ragwort ?