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Wood Ragwort

Senecio ovatus

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Gardens, riversides, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Yellow, many petals
The daisy-like flowers have between 6 and 8 petals. Flowers appear inside clusters.
The fruit is an achene with a pappus of hairs at the end.
The leaves are oblong to lance-shaped and have finely serrated margins. Erect and hairless stems. Usually found growing inside damp woods. Perennial.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Wood ragwort is a perennial herbaceous plant that belongs to the daisy family (Asteraceae). It is native to Europe and Asia, and typically grows in damp, wooded areas, and along the edges of streams and ponds. The plant has delicate, yellow flowers that bloom in late spring to early summer, and its leaves are lobed, and green. It is often used in wildflower gardens and as a naturalizing plant in wooded areas. It is considered a weed in some countries, where it can be invasive and compete with native plants.


Wood Ragwort, also known as Senecio ovatus, is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe and western Asia and is commonly found in woodlands, hedgerows, and other shaded areas.

The plant can grow up to 90cm in height and has a smooth, branching stem. The leaves of the Wood Ragwort are ovate, meaning they are shaped like an egg, with a toothed margin and a pointed tip. The leaves are generally dark green in color, and they grow up to 10cm in length.

Wood Ragwort blooms from June to September, producing clusters of bright yellow flowers at the top of the stem. The flowers are made up of many small, tubular florets, and each flower head can contain up to 25 individual flowers. The flowers are a valuable source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

While Wood Ragwort is a beautiful plant with a long blooming season, it is also considered an invasive species in some areas. The plant is known to grow aggressively, spreading quickly through both seeds and root fragments. As a result, it can outcompete native plants and harm biodiversity.

Despite its invasive tendencies, Wood Ragwort has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes throughout history. It was traditionally used to treat coughs, colds, and other respiratory ailments. It was also used as a diuretic, to treat kidney and bladder problems, and as a general tonic.

Today, there is ongoing research into the potential medicinal properties of Wood Ragwort, particularly in its ability to fight cancer. Some compounds found in the plant have been shown to have anti-cancer properties in animal studies. However, more research is needed to determine the effectiveness and safety of using Wood Ragwort as a cancer treatment.

Wood Ragwort is a beautiful plant with a long blooming season that is native to Europe and western Asia. While it is considered an invasive species in some areas, it has a rich history of medicinal use and ongoing research is exploring its potential anti-cancer properties. As with any medicinal plant, it should only be used under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

Wood Ragwort is a hardy plant that can tolerate a range of soil types and growing conditions. It prefers partial shade and moist soil, but it can also grow in full sun and dry soil. The plant can be propagated from seed or by dividing the root clumps in the spring or fall.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Wood Ragwort has also been used for other purposes throughout history. The fibrous stems of the plant were used to make cordage and rope, while the flowers were used to make a yellow dye for textiles.

It is important to note that Wood Ragwort contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are toxic to both humans and animals if ingested in large amounts. While the levels of these alkaloids in the plant are generally considered to be low, it is still important to exercise caution when handling or ingesting the plant.

Wood Ragwort is a versatile and interesting plant that has played a role in human history for centuries. Its unique combination of beauty, invasiveness, and medicinal properties make it a plant worth studying and appreciating.

Wood Ragwort has also been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used topically as a poultice or salve to help heal wounds and reduce inflammation. The plant has also been used as a treatment for rheumatism, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.

In addition to its potential medicinal benefits, Wood Ragwort has also been studied for its ecological role. The plant is an important food source for many insect species, including several species of moths and butterflies. It also provides shelter and habitat for small animals, such as mice and voles, who use the plant as a hiding place and a source of food.

As an invasive species, Wood Ragwort has the potential to harm the environment and disrupt natural ecosystems. It can quickly outcompete native plant species, reducing biodiversity and altering habitats. Efforts are being made to control the spread of Wood Ragwort and prevent its introduction to new areas.

In conclusion, Wood Ragwort is a fascinating plant with a rich history of medicinal and ecological significance. While it is considered an invasive species in some areas, it is also an important food source and habitat for many insect and animal species. Further research is needed to explore the potential medicinal properties of Wood Ragwort, and efforts must be made to manage its invasive tendencies and protect native plant species.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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