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senecio jacobaea - L.                
                 
Common Name Ragwort, Stinking willie
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
Synonyms replaced synonym of: Jacobaea vulgaris
Known Hazards All parts of the plant are poisonous[4, 19]. The plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, in isolation these substances are highly toxic to the liver and have a cumulative affect even when the whole plant is consumed[65, 254].
Habitats Waste ground and pastures on all but the poorest soils[4, 17]. It is often only an annual[17].
Range Europe, including Britain, south and east from Scandanavia to N. Africa, Caucasua and W. Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
senecio jacobaea is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to October, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.


USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

senecio jacobaea Ragwort, Stinking willie


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illustration_Senecio_jacobaea.jpg
senecio jacobaea Ragwort, Stinking willie
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ghouston
   
Habitats       
 Meadow; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
None known
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antirheumatic;  Astringent;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Expectorant;  Homeopathy.

The plant is astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue and expectorant[9, 21]. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and is dried for later use[9]. Use with caution[21], when applied internally it can cause severe damage to the liver[9]. See also the notes above on toxicity. An emollient poultice is made from the leaves[4]. The juice of the plant is cooling and astringent, it is used as a wash in burns, sores, cancerous ulcers and eye inflammations[4]. It makes a good gargle for ulcerated mouths and throats and is also said to take away the pain of a bee sting[4]. Caution is advised here since the plant is poisonous and some people develop a rash from merely touching this plant[K]. A decoction of the root is said to be good for treating internal bruises and wounds[4]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. It is used in the treatment of dysmenorrhoea and other female complaints, internal haemorrhages and other internal disorders[9].
Other Uses
Dye.

A good green dye is obtained from the leaves, though it is not very permanent[4, 115]. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers when alum is used as a mordant[4, 115, 168]. Brown and orange can also be obtained[168].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeding on all but the poorest soils, this plant is a declared noxious weed in Britain spreading freely by seed. It should not be cultivated other than in controlled conditions for scientific research. Ragwort can be eradicated by pulling it up just before it comes into flower, or by cutting it down as the flowers begin to open (this latter may need to be repeated about six weeks later)[4]. Ragwort is a good food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly and moth species, and is one of only two species that provide food for cinnabar moth caterpillars.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
A noxious weed, it doesn't need any help in spreading itself about.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
17200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[115]Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain.
Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
keith Thu May 24 2007
does anyone have reliable info re horses eating Senecio?
Elizabeth H.
Marace Dareau Wed Jun 6 2007
Photographs and drawings would be helpful, especially close-ups of stems and leaves at various stages as well as flowers, this would help distinguish the plant from others. For instance we have here a plant that has similar flowers but they are not in flat-topped clusters, rather spread on minor stems throughout the plant. The plant has smooth stems but they are shaded with a purplish colour, more towards the root. The leaves are similar to those of ragwort but not so toothed. It does not have the strong smell of ragwort but rather a faint smell like chrysanthemum, which is what made me think that it was perhaps chrysantheme des moisson, but researching this I find this is corn marigold and it does not seem similar to the plant illustrated in the RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs - it does not have double flowers. The problem is with most sites a lack of photographic evidence of the details of the plant. I would be grateful for any hints of identification of the plant I have described. I do know ragwort well as we were plagued with it when we lived in Scotland - we dug up many trailer-loads of it - and I do not think that the plant we have here which is by no means so common with us but is common on some properties locally (Gers, France)is in fact ragwort, but would like to be sure ...
Elizabeth H.
Gordon Wed Jan 16 2008
I can't right now put my hand to the reference but this particular species contains poisons which can be absorbed through the skin and other bodily membranes. As the toxin has a cumulative effect I would not advise it's use at all. The liver can suffer 75% loss of function before symptoms appear which effectivley masks the effects until substantial damage has occured. Once patients begin to exhibit signs of toxic liver damage the prognosis is not usually good. With reference to horses, (Where the weed may be a contaminant of hay feed.) once symptoms appear the most common treatment is euthenasia!
Elizabeth H.
jamuna Thu Feb 21 2008
pls tell us about its establishment potential, spread, climatic requirements
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