HealthRagwort: The silent threat lurking in our meadows and fields, especially dangerous to your pets

Ragwort: The silent threat lurking in our meadows and fields, especially dangerous to your pets

This plant is as dangerous as hogweed Sosnowsky.
This plant is as dangerous as hogweed Sosnowsky.
Images source: © Pixabay | Fundacja_Poblize

15 June 2024 20:51

With the arrival of spring and summer, many dangerous plants appear in meadows and fields. Besides the well-known Sosnowsky's Hogweed, you can encounter an even more hazardous plant called ragwort. This unassuming plant poses a serious threat!

Ragwort is a member of the daisy family that grows in meadows, fields, forest edges, and ditches throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Its tall stem, reaching 4 feet, is covered with small yellow flowers that bloom from June to September.

It was once believed that ragwort was a medicinal plant helpful for high blood pressure or liver diseases. It was used for severe colic, skin diseases, eczema, and difficult-to-heal wounds. Today, however, it is known that the plant is highly poisonous and carcinogenic.

State Forests explain that the plant's name, according to folklore, refers to its full bloom on July 25th, the day dedicated to Saint James the Apostle. Extracts obtained from the leaves and flowers of ragwort should be used only for short-term treatments. They should not be given to pregnant women or nursing mothers.

Ragwort is especially dangerous for animals—horses, ponies, and cows, for whom even a small bite can be fatal. The poisoning destroys the liver and leads to neurological damage, resulting in death.

Regular monitoring and removal of ragwort from pastures and walking areas are crucial. To prevent the plant from spreading, it is recommended to mow areas where it grows regularly. Removing individual specimens by pulling or digging up can also help eliminate this threat.

The plant poses the greatest danger to horses and rabbits. It should be remembered that it is poisonous when fresh, wilted, and dried. As the State Forests warned, even a small dose of ragwort extract is very dangerous for small pets—dogs and cats.

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