Marsh Ragwort Herbarium Specimen

Marsh RagwortThis image shows two specimens of Marsh Ragwort, both collected in Worcestershire nearly two centuries ago and preserved in the Worcester City museum collection.

The plant on the left was collected by Robert Streeton from the banks of Kempsey Brook in October 1830, and is thought to be the first record of this plant in Worcestershire. The plant on the right was collected by George Reece at Knapps Brickground on 24th May 1845.

Marsh Ragwort is a common and widespread plant. From June to August, Marsh Ragwort produces yellow flowers that are up to 25 mm in diameter.

The scientific name, or two-part Latin binomial, for the Marsh Ragwort is Senecio aquaticus. ‘Aquaticus’ means aquatic, or that it lives in or near fresh water.

Marsh Ragwort contains Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids, which makes it taste bitter. This bitterness deters animals from eating it, but the alkaloids make Marsh Ragwort poisonous to humans and animals. If ingested, the poisons cannot be removed by the body, so they can accumulate and cause irreversible liver damage.

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