I was trying to be arty for the Shoot the Hills competition with this shot of golden ragwort along the Marsh Hollow creek. That’s the bridge to our hillside trail in the background. From April to July, visitors to the Hocking Hills will see clusters of golden ragwort plants in wet ground, low woods, swamps and meadows, and especially along our many forested roads in Hocking County.
This ragwort is native to North America and can be distinguished from a lot of look-alike plants because it blooms much earlier than they do (always helpful for us amateur wildflower enthusiasts who get excited about a wildflower find only to discover that it doesn’t bloom until August). Another helpful tip for identification is that the basal leaves are heart-shaped, long-stemmed and often reddish beneath. I had to pull away a thick layer of leaves to find this plant’s basal leaves.
WebMD has an interesting write-up about the medicinal uses of golden ragwort, which include diabetes, high blood pressure, fluid retention & pain during childbirth. After reading the side effects, especially effects on the liver, I think I’ll give it a pass.
At this time of year, Marsh Hollow has a beautiful display of wildflowers, making April and May two of the most beautiful months of the year.