Ragwort it seems grows better when ever the weather does anything. Well at least that is what happens if you read the press. Good old "'Orse and 'Ound" have been at it again with an article on their website. As usual I don't give links to hysterical articles so you'll have to google for it but they say "Cold weather in November and December, followed by a mild January have caused the deadly weed ragwort to start to grow early.". Well who knows? This might be the case. There isn't anything in the scientific literature that I have seen to support it though.
It is just that whenever the weather does something different, if it is a bit hotter or colder or rains more or less it makes, if you listen to the press, ragwort grow more rampant and spread even more. The research of course suggests that if anything ragwort is DECREASING.
Back in 2008 the Western Daily press printed this:-
"A deadly plant is on the march because of the hot, wet weather - and seeds that have been dormant for 15 years are now growing. The native ragwort plant can kill grazing animals and pets and is even a danger to humans. The distinctive yellow plants - Senecio jacobaea - grow waist high and are most dangerous when they are dead or dying. Britain's Open Spaces Society has issued a warning about the plant, also known as benweed or curley doddies."
Then it was the weather but they didn't forget to put some hysterical nonsense about it killing pets. Dogs and cats DON'T EAT IT. Then of course miraculously seeds buried for 15 years have motored their way magically to the surface and germinated.
Anyway back then good old Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust fought back and got a more balanced article in the Daily Telegraph.
Conservation warning over 'ragwort hysteria'