Smooth ragwort (Senecio vaginatus)

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Smooth ragwort in flower
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Smooth ragwort fact file

Smooth ragwort description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderAsterales
FamilyCompositae
GenusSenecio (1)

Characterised by its yellow daisies, the smooth ragwort (Senecio vaginatus) bears its flowers on leafy, yellowish-green stems, which are often hairless and sometimes branched towards the ends. The narrow, oblong-shaped leaves often have strongly rolled edges, and are typically shiny, or covered with a few cottony hairs. Furry white hairs usually cover the base of the upper leaves (2).

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Smooth ragwort biology

The smooth ragwort flowers primarily in the summer months, from November to February (2). Like other species in the Compositae family, the flowers are contained on a specialised head-like inflorescence called a ‘capitulum’. Despite looking like a single flower, each daisy is actually made up of many tiny, individual flowers, called ‘florets’, which are surrounded by larger outer petals (4). Each stem may have several of these composite flowers, each with a narrow base and overlapping petals (2)

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Smooth ragwort range

The smooth ragwort is endemic to the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean (1) (2).

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Smooth ragwort habitat

Growing in rocky areas between sea level and 305 metres, the smooth ragwort is often associated with places where diddle-dee (Empetrum rubrum), tall fern (Blechnum cordatum) and tall grasses are present (2) (3).

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Smooth ragwort status

The smooth ragwort is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Smooth ragwort threats

As part of the native flora of the Falkland Islands, the smooth ragwort faces a range of threats. Historically, much of the Falklands' native flora was cleared for agriculture through grazing and burning, meaning that many native species now have restricted distributions across the islands. In addition, introduced and invasive species and increasing levels of tourism are placing further pressure on native species (4) (5).

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Smooth ragwort conservation

The smooth ragwort will no doubt benefit from conservation programmes which are currently focusing on protecting the Falkland Islands' plant species and mitigating the threats to their survival (6). Falklands Conservation is working in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on identifying important plant areas throughout the islands (7), while the Falklands Islands Plant Conservation Project, with assistance from Falklands Conservation, is developing a strategy for the long-term conservation of the islands’ threatened flora, with plans for sustainable land management and protection. Public education projects are also aiming to tackle human disturbances to natural environments (8).

ARKive is supported by OTEP, a joint programme of funding from the UK FCO and DFID which provides support to address priority environmental issues in the Overseas Territories, and Defra
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Find out more

For more information on conservation in the Falkland Islands, see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Inflorescence
The reproductive shoot of a plant, which bears a group or cluster of flowers.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (October, 2010)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Woods, R.W. (2000) Flowering Plants of the Falkland Islands. Falklands Conservation, The Falkland Islands.
  3. Broughton, D.A. and McAdam, J.H. (2005) A checklist of the native vascular flora of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas): new information on the species present, their ecology, status and distribution. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, 132: 115-148.
  4. Heywood, V.H. (1978) Flowering Plants of the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Broughton, D.A. and McAdam, J.H. (2002) A red data list for the Falkland Island vascular flora. Oryx, 36: 279-287.
  6. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (2004) Samara: The International Newsletter of the Partners of the Millenium Seedbank Project. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Available at:
    http://www.kew.org/msbp/scitech/publications/samara/samara7_english.pdf
  7. Plantlife. (2010) Important Plant Areas Around the World: Target 5 of the CBD Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. Plantlife International, Salisbury, UK.
  8. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (October, 2010)
    http://dps.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/falklands
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Image credit

Smooth ragwort in flower  
Smooth ragwort in flower

© Pete Oxford / naturepl.com

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