Think Tank

Flowering Plant

This Flower contains poisons that taste bitter to stop animals eating it.

Flowering plant from Worcester Museum

Flowering Plant

Flowering Plants are green organisms that obtain their food by combining the energy from sunlight with carbon dioxide from the air with water.

These Flowering Plants are both Marsh Ragwort.

Marsh Ragwort grows in damp places, along river banks, marshes, meadows, along road sides and in ditches.

The Marsh Ragwort is poisonous to cattle and horses.

These Marsh Ragwort plants have been pressed, dried and preserved. They are an important record of the plants found in Worcestershire in the English West Midlands.

More about this Flowering Plant

Marsh Ragwort is a common and widespread plant. This image shows two specimens of Marsh Ragwort, both collected in Worcestershire, England.

The plant on the left was collected by Robert Streeton from the banks of Kempsey Brook in October 1830, and is thought to be the first record of this plant in Worcestershire. The plant on the right was collected by George Reece at Knapps Brickground on 24th May 1845.

From June to August, Marsh Ragwort produces yellow flowers that are up to 25 mm in diameter.

The scientific name, or two-part Latin binomial, for the Marsh Ragwort is Senecio aquaticus. ‘Aquaticus’ means aquatic, or that it lives in or near fresh water.

Marsh Ragwort contains Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids, which makes it taste bitter. This bitterness deters animals from eating it, but the alkaloids make Marsh Ragwort poisonous to humans and animals. If ingested, the poisons cannot be removed by the body, so they can accumulate and cause irreversible liver damage.

Want to know more?

To download this information or to find out more, click on the Resources to your right. 

These Flowering Plants are part of the collections held by the Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery in Worcester. Use the ‘Worcester City Council’ web link below to find out more about the Collections in Worcester.

Mushrooms from Stoke-on-Trent Museums

Mushrooms or Toadstools are fungi, which are a different Kingdom to plants. To find out more click on the image above.

Fossil maple leaves from Thinktank Museum

Trees, like this maple, are flowering plants. Find out more by clicking on the image above.