RAGWORT

It Really Should Be Anglesey's County Flower

I have decided quite unilaterally that Anglesey's County Flower should be the Common Ragwort.

Some of you might well be of the opinion Anglesey's County Flower is the Spotted Rockrose (Tuberaria Guttata).

On paper it is and if you're conducting research for a school essay then the Spotted Rockrose is the right answer for academics.

But what do they know, eh?



Anglesey County Flower - NOT!



Either you like this robust and lovely yellow plant that puctuates pointless greenery or you just DESPISE IT! This is where you can emote with reasonable use of despicable language ...CLICK HERE.

Go on. You know you want to.



EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE


I'm a practical sort of guy and I am of the firm opinion that the more abundant a plant then the clearer is its identity associated with a place.

You may notice that I don't have a picture of the Spotted Rockrose but I'm sure that a quick scan of the Interweb will show you what this non-descript little flower looks like.

Compare this to the Ragwort and its strong abundant flowers and the Rockrose fades into a horticultural insignificance.

Cometh the Summer, Cometh the Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea). Highways, By-ways, Meadows and Pastures scream out its dominance.

It is EVERYWHERE!

Gentle lowing cows and grazing equines move about fields bedecked with this abundant giant.

From the air Anglesey is a yellow speckled island heaven.






OKAY, SO THERE ARE A FEW DRAWBACKS


I'll admit that it's poisonous to horses, in general, giving them Liver Cancer if eaten and resulting in a slow and extremely painful death.

Yet this is up for debate and some scientists (or is it agrarian supporters) state that this is false. So what if it contains the poisonous pyrrolizidine alkaloids?

It is estimated that 3% of all known plant species contain this chemical and it's only dangerous if it's eaten, digested and processed by the liver of an animal.

If they don't eat Common Ragwort then it's not dangerous. Surely this has been explained to horses. After all, they're quite reasonable creatures. I remember Mr Ed.

They suggest that it's not only dangerous to horses but also to other farm animals, such as sheep and cattle and also to wild animals such as hare and deer.

We don't have many hares or deer on Anglesey, so how can it be dangerous for them? Think it through legislators.

It can't be our responsibility to remove them all from a field of grazing animals, can it?






VINDICTIVE RAGWORT LEGISLATION


It was the lovely Alun Michael MP who introduced the 2003 Ragwort Act. Who made him Minister for the Horse? The Government?


The Minister for the Horse preposterously decreed that if you had allowed your rural field to gather up Anglesey's County Flower, then you had to remove them all and dispose of them without showing due appreciation and messing up the perfect Feng Shui.

Alun Michael really is a nice man. He has to be, because he was born in Llanfachraeth on Anglesey. How could he be anything but nice - apart from his obvious prejudice against ragwort?

Mr Michael has declared Anglesey's County Flower as dangerous and made it's removal a matter of law.

I wish he wouldn't offer advice such as Anglesey's County Flower being harmful to humans.

He says posionous pyrrolizidine alkaloids can enter the bloodstream through the skin.


He even insists that you HAVE TO to wear protective clothing and gloves when handling the plant.






Anglesey County Flower - NOT!



COURAGEOUS POLITICIANS


Why can't the lovely Alun Michael MP have the same courage as the equally lovely Former Welsh Assembly Agriculture Minister, Elin Jones AM.

Now there's a woman who has decided that scientific opinion is just that, an opinion. If she believes something then she acts on it.

Farmers have decided that Bovine TB is spread by those vicious, nasty, badgers (probably Commies on top of everything). Ms Jones shares their belief and has ordered a badger cull in Pembrokeshire in South West Wales.

What does she care about scientific opinion and research, Alun Michael? The farming unions have told her that badgers are nasty little creatures who probably gang up on unwary cows and sneeze at them.

The Welsh Assembly doesn't care that a major cull in Southern Ireland killed off all badgers and Bovine TB numbers still managed to increase. Coincidence, that's all it was.


Let me tell you about CHARACTER, Alun Michael MP.

Elin Jones goes her own way. What does she care about Irish research and the fact that there will be no badger cull in England because of the lack of any clear direct evidence of infection by badgers?

If enough people gather together in a cupboard and talk for long enough then anything makes sense - as long as no-one breaks wind.

I mean, just look at badgers. They look guilty as sin.



TO CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF THIS PLANT – OR NOT - CLICK HERE






SPOTTED ROCKROSE


I make a solemn promise that I hope I can remember. I will get you a picture of this little flower.

I'm not too impressed by its appearance, but the spotted rockrose's rarity makes it really special.

Anglesey is special in so many ways and one of them is that it is the home of a number of limited sites in which this flower resides.

First of all, there are only nine populations of the spotted rockrose known in the UK; in addition to the two within Glannau Rhoscolyn SSSI, a further six locations are also found on Anglesey with the remaining site on Pen Lleyn.

See, I told you Anglesey is special. Astonishingly beautiful AND special.










IRONY & SATIRE


Gentle reader, do you know that it has just struck me that a few of our visitors may not be familiar with Welsh irony and satire. Obviously not you.

However, I feel compelled by a need to state the bleedin' obvious.

Ragwort is a very dangerous plant for vertebrates (you and me as well). If ingested as described above then it leads to an appallingly painful death for animals.

Its dangerousness is a matter of traditional countryside received wisdom and scientific fact, though some people do continue to dispute it.

A question arises as to who is funding their research. Maybe it's the B.R.F.D. (British Ragwort Fanciers Diss-Association).

The danger is significant enough to warrant specific legislation.



FRUSTATION

I admit to frustration that some Anglesey fields are allowed to become infested by this species of plant.

There may not be animal danger in the field it occupies; however, the 150,000 seeds invariably end up in someone else's grazing fields.



ENFORCEMENT

This is an issue that I haven't yet clarified. At this moment it is my belief that the greatest sanction is a letter of admonishment from the Secretary of State.



SERIOUS ISSUE

Alun Michael MP, previous Minister for the Horse (I kid you not) and his legislative legal eagles brought into law strong guidelines that oblige local authorities and land owners to remove Ragwort from their land. Diposal is an equally important matter.

A standard run-of-the-mill Common Ragwort plant can produce up to 150,000 viable seeds. The fecundity of this plant and its danger to grazing animals makes it a very dangerous plant.

If you are concerned over ragwort you have on your own property then you can either approach your local authority or have a look at the website I below for advice.

Anglesey County Council reception telephone number is (0248)750057. They will be able to guide you from here.



The Welsh Assembly offers strict guidelines based on the The Code of Practice to Prevent and Control the Spread of Ragwort 2006.


Contact Details:

Welsh Assembly Government Department for Environment, Planning & Countryside
National Assembly for Wales,
Cardiff Bay,
Cardiff
CF99 1NA
Tel: 0845 010 5500

The general Assembly Website: Click Here for the Link.

For a direct link to the relevant .pdf file Click Here






I HATE RAGWORT


I would vote for the Cybermen if they promised to get rid of ragwort. I'd also think about putting out a disposal contract to the Ice Warriors.

I'd never ask the Daleks because I reckon they'd try and mate with them.

They're a weird bunch. Ask anyone in Llanerchymedd.


TO CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF THIS PLANT – OR NOT - CLICK HERE





Do You Love or HATE Ragwort?
Got a view you want to share?

What do you think? Is the science solid?

Do you think that it's a lovely plant that makes Anglesey look nice and summery?

Or are your animals suffering from some careless or lazy so-and-so who allows it to proliferate with deadly abandon?

Should ragwort be Anglesey's County Flower?

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

August 18th - HAPPY RAGWORT DAY! Anglesey's County Flower 
Wil here again. Celebrate Anglesey's County Flower. Yup! It?s that time of year when Anglesey finds itself dotted with lovely spangles of golden …

Click here to write your own.





TO CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF THIS PLANT – OR NOT - CLICK HERE

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