A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Thursday 11 August 2011


Ragwort is in full bloom in the fields and countryside around here now. In certain parts of the UK it is know as Yellow Tops & Stinking Willie. Ragwort is responsible for half the cases of stock poisoning in Britain as it contains pyrrolizidine alkoloids which are poisonous to animals particularly horses, also we believe cattle & sheep. The animals will not normally eat Ragwort in the field as the plant has a bitter taste, hence its common name above no doubt. However if they are very short of food or when the grass containing ragwort is dried and made into hay, then it is dangerous as it looses its bitter taste & toxins cause damage to the animal's liver. Humans should also beware too as if Ragwort is handled toxins can get into the bloodstream and cause skin irritation & other problems.

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