Ragwort Facts

Information on Ragwort in the UK from a scientific perspective


How toxic is Ragwort - What does the scientific literature tell us

Common myths about Ragwort

Common misleading statements about Ragwort

Errors made by local councils

Ragwort Dispersal

Ragwort and the Law.

Ragwort Awareness Week

Information timeline.


Ragwort horse deaths what is the truth?

British Horse Society and Advertising Standards Authority

Why ragwort is important for wildlife

Ragwort and humans

Ragwort Control and Ecology. What you really should be doing.

Politicians on Ragwort

Why this site was created.

Contact the webmaster

Defra Ragwort Code of Practice problems

This site has been written to inform the public of the true scientific data surrounding ragwort. It exists to balance the hysteria generated in the British press. Whilst ragwort is of course toxic, it is only one of a great many toxic plants and the stories that have been published do not accurately reflect what is known from the international scientific literature . Many false claims are made about this plant, often when investigated you find there is a vested interest, selling ragwort controls of questionable value, or maybe using the hysteria to help raise an organisation's public profile. Other people, naturally worried about animal cruelty have been convinced by the false stories and lacking the background to determine the truth are genuinely, but unnecessarily worried. This site should serve to inform the public as to the facts in a rational, informative manner. This enables land managers to take rational decisions about ragwort without falling victim to rumour and falsehoods.

The situation with information about ragwort on the internet is often extremely bad. False information and inaccuracy abounds. There are even local government websites which give wrong advice about the law. Copies of the relevant legislation with regards to ragwort are available on this site so that readers can be absolutely sure of the facts.

The site represents a synthesis of what is known about ragwort in relation to the false information that has been promoted, providing answers to common questions and debunking common myths. This site does have a particular view point on ragwort. It says that it is not the problem often claimed but that view is arrived at by rational analysis of the data sources not by just repeating urban legends and old wives tales. There are a number of other sources of information available on the internet where the webmasters have independently come to the same conclusion such as the website of Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust, who are not connected with this site but who have done their own independent search of the scientific literature and have come to the same in inescapable conclusions.

Whenever possible the actual references to the scientific research on the subject are provided so that the accuracy of the information can be judged in a scientific context.

The concern is that unnecessary overreaction to ragwort causes ecological damage by encouraging agricultural intensification and unnecessary destruction of other ecological resources.

The site does not say that ragwort control is unnecessary only that control should be based on a rational scientific approach and aimed where the science says there is an actual threat. This means that control is largely unnecessary where there is no direct contact with animals, and even then the danger is overplayed in the press.

It is very easy to create hysteria about ragwort, those not familiar with scientific methods can often be misled into believing that it poses a much greater threat than it does. This site uses science to correct the wild stories that often appear and encourages readers to do their own research on ragwort.