Other Weeds

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

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Horsetail Scotland

A perennial member of the Sphenophyta family the leaves grow on whorls from nodal sheaths off hollow jointed stems. The fragile root or rhizomes grow up to 1.5 metres deep in soils and will re-grow if damaged which makes it very persistent if being removed by weeding. Horsetail does not flower and is a member of the fern family producing spores for regeneration.

Despite its name horsetail is actually poisonous to grazing animals including horses.

In the construction industry horsetail is problematic causing damage to road and footpath surfaces - preventing Local Authority adoptions. It is resistant to most weed killers and the waxy coating on the stems means that it requires a specialist to ensure effective eradication.

Himalayan Knotweed (Persicaria wallichii)

Himalayan Knotweed Scotland

This is another member of the Polygonaceae family which is often mistaken for Japanese knotweed. Himalayan knotweed can be identified by its elongated leaves.

The Cornwall Council - recognised as the leading UK authority recommends that in terms of best practice this invasive plant should be managed in the same way as other knotweed varieties.

Hedge Bindweed (Calystegia sepium)

Hedge Bindweed Scotland

Hedge Bindweed is an aggressive climbing perennial which spreads by means of a network of creeping underground stems. The plant can grow to 3 metres in height often smothering other plants. Bindweed flowers from June through to September with large white trumpet-like flowers.

This is a difficult plant to control without causing damage to surrounding plants. Due to its method of growth it can be persistent.

Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)

Common Ragwort Scotland

Common Ragwort, a member of the Compositae family is a biennial plant which can achieve a height of 30 - 100 cm. Ragwort overwinters as seeds or rosettes before developing the main stem which develops in late summer of the second year. The flowers, which develop off the main stem, comprise branched clusters of yellow daisy-like flower heads. The plant usually dies after flowering resulting in the dispersal of up to 150,000 white seeds that are distributed by the wind. Seeds may remain viable for up to 15 years.

Ragwort contains toxic alkaloids which are poisonous by varying degrees to most grazing animals - horses are particularly commonly affected. While the foliage is generally avoided, if adequate grazing provided, due to its unpleasant odour it becomes more palatable but no less poisonous when the plant wilts or dies. It is believe that the most common reason for livestock poisoning is being ingested from contaminated fodder such as hay.

This plant is controlled under the Injurious Weeds Act 1959 and MAFF have powers to serve clearance notices.