Tansy Ragwort Loves Beef Liver (and Horse)
|Tansy Ragwort sounds like a Harry Potter character, but there’s nothing entertaining about this weed. It’s an invasive, meaning it pushes out native plants, and also deadly. All of the plant is dangerous. It contains liver damaging alkaloids that are toxic to all animals but sheep (Sheep have ruminal microbes that can safely consume the alkaloids). The plant toxicity is not eliminated or reduced with drying, so it can be a timebomb in hay. Tansy poisoning can take two weeks to six months to kill an animal which could make diagnosing a problem. There is no antidote.
The plant has flat yellow flowers at the top. Stems are green with a reddish tinge. Leaved are ruffled and dark green. Mature plants can grow as high as 6 feet tall. Plants can produce numerous seed that can lay dormant for up to ten years.
To treat: If you pull the plant, don’t just leave it on the ground as that can stimulate seeding. Remove and bag the seed heads. Spraying is most effective in the fall. Grazing with sheep is effective as the animal can remove the plant without being endangered.
Sign up for the latest updates on HSWCD projects, news & events!