Illustrated Guide to
of New Zealand
Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
Zealand Plant Protection Society
Publication or other use of images or descriptive
text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is
obtained from the authors and publisher.
of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always
Available from Touchwood
robust biennial or perennial with characteristic unpleasant smell
when bruised. Leaves dissected into large lobes. Flower stem up
to 1.2 m tall, bearing bright yellow composite flowers, each 2 cm
across, in flat-topped clusters.
Golden-yellow, about 2 cm in diameter, with golden-yellow disk
florets, and about twelve yellow ray florets, in compact flat-topped
terminal inflorescences. Flowers Nov-Apr.
Rounded achenes about 2 mm long, with a pappus of simple hairs
up to 5 mm long, not forming a 'clock'.
Rosette of dark green, pinnately lobed leaves 4-8 cm long with
large blunt terminal lobes. Stem leaves deeply cut, stalkless,
clasping the stem, with no broad terminal lobes. Leaves often
with purple colouring on the underside.
Purplish, erect, ridged, densely woolly towards the top, becoming
smooth lower down. Stems leafy, branching, 50-120 cm tall.
Pastures, waste places,
open forest, swamps and river-beds.
Weed of cattle pastures
throughout New Zealand where annual rainfall exceeds 800 mm, also
in the Chatham Islands, but eradicated from the Kermadecs. Originally
from Europe and western Asia.
The plant forms a
rosette in its first year, and usually flowers and then dies in
its second year, unless its growth is interfered with, when it
can become a multi-crowned perennial. Poisonous
to cattle and horses, but less so to sheep. Usually ignored by
cattle and horses but kept in check by sheep. The poison affects
the liver, can be very slow acting in sheep and its effects can
be confused with those of facial eczema. Several insects have
been brought into NZ in attempts to control this species. Currently,
the ragwort flea beetle (Longitarsus jacobaea) is looking
very promising. Ragwort is subject to Pest Plant Management Strategies
in most regions of NZ. Details are available from individual regional
councils or unitary authorities. Has been regarded as noxious
in NZ since 1900.
Marsh ragwort (Senecio
aquaticus) is shorter, with more open inflorescences, less-dissected
leaves and less hairy achenes. It flowers Jan-Jun, and is found
in wet-lying areas at Mercer and Levin in NI, and in Nelson Province
and Southland in SI.
of botanical name
= old man, from the fluffy white seed heads; jacobaea
from St. James (Jacobus), one of the Twelve Apostles.