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It's ragwort time again!

Common Ragwort is thought to have between 40 and 60 species of insects dependant on it (including the famous Cinnabar moth of course) and every year our contractors and volunteers have the task of removing as much of it as possible from the Butterfly Conservation reserve at Lankham Bottom. The problem has been well nigh insuperable and has required huge numbers of manhours. To save time and to maximise our effectiveness, we have brushcut the plants then picked up and disposed of the cut material.

DSC06449 ragwort strimmers Lankham Bottom

This year we have cleared a strip 50-100 metres wide round the edge of the reserve to reduce the amount of seed that is likely to drift onto our neighbours’ land. It seems that in very dry conditions and especially on thin soils such as on the eastern edge and slopes of this reserve, the cut ragwort plants do not coppice and perennate as is feared but tend to shrivel and die.


this image shows the cleared band along the perimeter of the reserve

Very few Cinnabar larvae were seen this year – some of the plants in the shade of the wood on the southern side seemed to have a good complement of larvae – so it could be that the laying females were searching out the cooler damper conditions for their offspring to develop in.



This season