Common Ragwort - Jacobaea vulgaris

Alternative names
Ragwort and Senecio jacobaea

Medium to tall plant, stems erect to 1.5 metres, branched above. Basal and lower leaves pinnately lobed, with a small end lobe, withering by flowering time. Upper leaves 1 to 2 pinnately lobed, half clasping the stem. Flowerheads bright golden yellow, 15 to 25 mm with 12 to 15 rays, borne in large, flat topped, branched clusters.


Similar Species

Oxford Ragwort, Hoary Ragwort and Marsh Ragwort 

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Dense flat-topped corymbs; terminal lobe of leaf not much larger than lateral lobes (much larger in Marsh Ragwort); supplementary phyllaries (bracts under flower head) less than half as long as main ones.  Oxford Ragwort has looser corymbs and black-tipped phyllaries.  Hoary Ragwort has leaves with dense greyish cottony hairs underneath, narrow lobes and longer supplementary phyllaries (about half as long as main ones).   

Phyllaries often stated to be black-tipped, but this is not a key characteristic.

Recording advice

Check the leaf-shape and general growth habit


Waste and poor land, rough grassland, roadsides and banks.

When to see it

June to November.

Life History

Biennial or perennial.

UK Status

Common throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 381 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map