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Yellow Wildflowers of May, part 2.

May 21, 2011

Golden Ragwort

In my last wildflower post, I highlighted a flourishing yellow May plant- Winter Cress.  Here’s another, one that started to bloom somewhat later, but is currently spreading to fill certain fields in central Ohio:

As always, you can click on the pictures for a better view.  This flower is bright yellow and has dark green foliage like Winter Cress.  But it is taller, and if you look closely, it has daisy-like blooms, growing in a head of flowers:

This is Golden Ragwort, and if you think it looks somewhat like the asters you see in the autumn, there’s a reason for that- it is a member of the Aster family.  It grows in moist areas- these pictures I took were in a drainage culvert.  Note the rather unique segmented leaves, the thick stems, and the way the top-heavy flower head will droop over when wet.  You may see occasional clumps or even individual plants here and there, in addition to the impressive yellow fields full of them.

In the old days, Golden Ragwort like many plants had medicinal uses and was incorporated in herbal infusions, but since it contains alkaloids– a toxic natural defense against being eaten- one should not consume this plant.

Edit- these photos actually show Butterweed, another common yellow spring wildflower that looks similar to Golden Ragwort.  I apologize for the mistake!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2011 10:03 am

    “Beauty is where you find it.”…and as you said, “these pictures I took were in a drainage culvert.”…wild flowers in a drainage culvert…beauty where we usually avoid…you teach us a good thing…along a freeway, in a dump, in a ditch…all over, there is beauty…not just the an open beautiful field or in a woods…

    I know I look along the road for wildflowers…and they are there…and here in Little Rock, maybe not all areas…but around where we live…the “public spaces”, they do not cut the grass or weeds along certain areas until all the wildflowers of spring are flowered, gone to seed, they they cut…and next year they are back again…thanks for the reminder…”Beauty is where you find it.”

    • May 23, 2011 5:25 pm

      What a wonderful observation! Yes, this batch of wildflowers is in a place where few would look for them, and they will stand there throughout the warm weather months. I make a point to walk by them and observe their progress. It’s the little out-of-the-way things that can be such a pleasure.

  2. February 24, 2014 10:19 am

    Thank you for posting this info! I took a photo some years ago of a field in May covered with this plant. It was beautiful, but I had always wondered what the plant was. Now I know!

  3. August 30, 2014 7:00 pm

    Love the golden ragwort here – I have one growing naturally in my zen garden on the Oregon coast.

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