Sometimes you have to really look at things to appreciate them.
Common Ragwort, Jacobaea vulgaris, is a native wildflower that pops up in meadows, a leggy blaze of golden flowers, defiant and glorious.
It grows in profusion along roadsides, on disturbed ground and unmanaged grasslands, tolerating even the poorest of soils.
Every year there are nationwide calls to ‘eradicate ragwort’. It is a Noxious weed, poisonous to horses, cattle and sheep.
It is feared and unwelcome… but consider this.
If we eradicate Ragwort, we will do immeasurable harm to our pollinator populations.
We shouldn’t talk of eradication without acknowledging and appreciating its importance.
Ragwort plays a critical role in supporting our natural biodiversity, hosting a wide range of wildlife.
Its golden flowers are a vital nectar source for bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths.
Many insect species feed exclusively on Ragwort and depend on it for survival.
I am celebrating Ragwort as a beautiful flower, a precious source of nectar and pollen, and a symbol of beauty and strength.
I have painted this on calfskin vellum, with a halo of gold to illustrate the importance of the bumblebee and the ragwort.
I appreciate the harmony within the flower structure- the Fibonacci spiral of pollen-rich flowers in the disc, surrounded by radiating yellow petals.
What a seductive sight these flowers must be, beckoning and tempting insects with promises of sweet pleasure.
My little white-tailed bumblebee has succumbed to its charms, oblivious to everything but the feast of nectar and pollen.
I appreciate the softness of her fur and the hard glitter of wings.
How beautifully the colours harmonise. Nature’s palette is a celebration!
Ragwort should be allowed to grow on verges. wasteland and anywhere that is not grazing land.
The answer is not eradication but careful management.
For more information on Ragwort see: https://www.buglife.org.uk/sites/default/files/Ragwort.pdf