The daisy-like, yellow flower heads of Common Ragwort may be pretty enough to the casual observer, but they belie the poisonous nature of this plant. Renowned as a weed of paddocks and pastures where it can be harmful to livestock, it is not usually such an issue in gardens or waste grounds. In fact, it is the foodplant of the black and red Cinnabar Moth: sometimes its black- and yellow-barred caterpillars cover the plant, totally stripping the leaves. Common Ragwort flowers from June to November.
How to identify
Common Ragwort is a biennial, flowering in its second year. It has clusters of yellow, flattened flower heads, and leaves that are much divided, almost looking feathery.
Where to find it
When to find it
How can people help
Many of our so-called 'weeds' are beneficial to wildlife, providing food for nectar-loving insects and shelter for minibeasts. Try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of Common Ragwort and longer grasses in your lawn and Stinging Nettles near the compost heap, and see who comes to visit... To find out more about wildlife-friendly gardening, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.