Senecio jacobaea L.
Sources: GRIN UniProt, IPNI
Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris, syn. Senecio jacobaea) is a very common wild flower in the family Asteraceae that is native to northern Eurasia, usually in dry, open places, and has also been widely distributed as a weed elsewhere.
Alternative names include Cushag (Isle of Man), Buachalán Buí (Ireland) or Benweed, Tansy Ragwort, St. James-wort, Ragweed, Stinking Nanny/Ninny/Willy, Staggerwort, Dog Standard, Cankerwort, Stammerwort and Mare's Fart. In the western US it is generally known as "Tansy Ragwort", or even more confusingly "Tansy", though its resemblance to the true tansy is superficial at best. This is a potentially dangerous misuse of names, since the true tansy has been used for culinary purposes.
The plant is biennial or perennial. The stems are erect, straight, have no or few hairs, and reach a height of 0.3-2.0 metres. 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 cm 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).
Pollination is by a wide range of bees, flies and moths and butterflies. Over a season, one plant may produce 2,000 to 2,500 yellow flowers in 20- to 60-headed, flat-topped corymbs. This number of seeds produced may be as large as 75,000 to 120,000, although in its native range in Eurasia very few of these would grow into new plants and research has shown that most seeds do not travel a great distance from the parent plant.
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