Ragwort

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Cazza

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Does anyone know if ragwort provides pollen/nectar. Is it as disgusting as the plant in general?
Cazza
 

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Hi Cazza

As far as I know Ragwort is poisonus

John D
 

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I get quite a bit of Ragwort this time of year.
The honey is a little bitter when first extracted but is ok after a few months.

It is bad news for horses and councils/landowners are supposed to clear it before it seeds,as for honey the amount is so small its not a problem.
 

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Hi, yes I've read somewhere official/scientific that ragwort honey is fine for human consumption.
As for the plant intself being poisonous, not only is it poisonous for horses but all domestic herabaceous farm animals and humans also. Thats why it is supposed to be 'pulled' or at least stopped from seeding within 100 yds ( I believe) of agricultural nad equestrian properties.
We (farmers, country people) used to pull ragwort bearhanded because we knew no better, now we dig it or pull while wearing gloves.

Causes liver failure/death. Builds up in the system same as paracetamol.
 

BlidworthBees

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There is a field at the far end of the village covered in it :mad: Belongs to a pub.

The flowers are covered with bumblebees but local honey bees seem to refer the buddleia which pretty abundant in gardens.

Ragwort is bitter to graze when green/flowering so animals tend to avoid but it becomes less so when dry and hence the danger to livestock

http://www.ragwortfacts.com/
 
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Cazza

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We (farmers, country people) used to pull ragwort bearhanded because we knew no better, now we dig it or pull while wearing gloves.

This is good advice. If you pull it you can control it quite easily.
The ragwort I have in mind is in a derelict patch of land 200 yds away. I will go and look at it and see if bees are on it.
Cazza
 

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Our local association was having a day demonstrating various different varieties of honey last year and one of the jars was said to be principally from ragwort. It was the colour of congealed pus and smelt like cheesy feet. I couldn't bear to taste any, but some did and spat it straight back out again. It was even worse than 'honeydew honey' - jet black and bitter! Apparently honey bees will only forage ragwort if there is really no other alternative for them - thankfully!
 

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2 years ago I had a huge field full of Ragwort that the bees were working like mad. The inside of the hive was yellow and it had a strange smell too.

General concensus on the forum was that any honey would be OK for human consumption. I didn't try it but gave it to the OH :smilielol5: :smilielol5:

Time seems to reduce the astringent taste - a bit like Ivy
 

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Apparantly if they draw comb out when foraging primarily on ragwort then the comb is a custard-yellow colour.
 

Cazza

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They should have Cinnabar Moth's on them at the moment.

Just had a look at the field, not much action, some bumbles, a few honeys, hoverfly type thingys and definately no moth caterpillars. Felt quite disappointed.
Cazza
 
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Hi Cazza

As far as I know Ragwort is poisonus

John D
A study being conducted in Ireland this year.

As part of a Food for Health Research Initiative (FHRI) funded jointly by two agencies; the Department of Agriculture & Food and the Health Research Board, we are investigating, in collaboration with Ashtown Food Research Centre (Teagasc), whether Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PAs), produced by Ragwort species, are entering the food chain.

For some time, scientists have known that the hepatotoxic alkaloids (PAs), known to occur in Tansy Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea L.), are also present in honey produced from the nectar of this species.

With the ever increasing occurrence of ragwort on Irish waste and pasture lands, this project wishes to determine whether Irish honey is becoming contaminated with trace levels of PAs toxins from nectar collected from Ragwort. If these compounds are detected in indigenous honey, our recommendations will be to eradicate this plant to ensure the sustainability of indigenous honey production.
 

Cazza

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A study being conducted in Ireland this year.

As part of a Food for Health Research Initiative (FHRI) funded jointly by two agencies; the Department of Agriculture & Food and the Health Research Board, we are investigating, in collaboration with Ashtown Food Research Centre (Teagasc), whether Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PAs), produced by Ragwort species, are entering the food chain.

For some time, scientists have known that the hepatotoxic alkaloids (PAs), known to occur in Tansy Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea L.), are also present in honey produced from the nectar of this species.

With the ever increasing occurrence of ragwort on Irish waste and pasture lands, this project wishes to determine whether Irish honey is becoming contaminated with trace levels of PAs toxins from nectar collected from Ragwort. If these compounds are detected in indigenous honey, our recommendations will be to eradicate this plant to ensure the sustainability of indigenous honey production.

Now that is interesting. I feel relieved that my bees are avoiding the stuff.
Cazza
 

Erichalfbee

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I pull the stuff up whenever I am out walking.

The pyrrolizidine alkaloids responsible are found in some 3% of all flowering plants but notably members of the borage family, some daisies, white clover and RBWH. These alkaloids may be more important if drying the herbs for consuming as a medicine or tea?
I didn't think bees were that keen on ragwort but they love borage and clover.
 

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I pull the stuff up whenever I am out walking.

The pyrrolizidine alkaloids responsible are found in some 3% of all flowering plants but notably members of the borage family, some daisies, white clover and RBWH. These alkaloids may be more important if drying the herbs for consuming as a medicine or tea?
I didn't think bees were that keen on ragwort but they love borage and clover.

I hope you take it home with you as if left where accessible to live stock it becomes palatable to them once dried out !

John Wilkinson
 

Erichalfbee

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I don't ever recall pulling any in a stock field it's usually along bridle paths and country lanes but a timely warning .... thanks.
 

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Ragwort is probably the most important wildflowers -for native insects. At least two species of solitary bees are almost entirely dependent upon it. The chemicals present in ragwort are also present in clovers and bracken. The threat to livestock has been massively over-blown - presumably promoted by herbicide manufacturers. Many false myths have been arisen around the plant - and many publications prosecuted for publishing false information. Unless in grazing field -or a field being used for haylage (when it should be pulled - but not left to dry out) ragwort should be left in situ . It is illegal to pull ragwort without the landowners permission .
 

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Ragwort is probably the most important wildflowers -for native insects. At least two species of solitary bees are almost entirely dependent upon it. The chemicals present in ragwort are also present in clovers and bracken. The threat to livestock has been massively over-blown - presumably promoted by herbicide manufacturers. Many false myths have been arisen around the plant - and many publications prosecuted for publishing false information. Unless in grazing field -or a field being used for haylage (when it should be pulled - but not left to dry out) ragwort should be left in situ . It is illegal to pull ragwort without the landowners permission .
Sensible landowners don't let it get established but it still spreads on the wind. Quite honestly if someone pulled ragwort on my property I'd treat them to some honey.
 

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Sensible landowners don't let it get established but it still spreads on the wind. Quite honestly if someone pulled ragwort on my property I'd treat them to some honey.
My reference was more in the countryside - rather than paddocks and grazing land as I qualified. Livestock would need to eat about 37 kg to cause a problem - and they dont like the taste - so it is usually only an issue where overgrazing has occurred (or land used for haylage) (The spread of the plant onto grazing land is a separate issue) I can't imagine you would be happy if they pulled the ragwort and then left it - which is what often happens - therefore massively increasing the associated risk - by unlawful activity and also putting native species at risk. livestock are less able to detect the obnoxious smell /taste when ragwort is dried.
 
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