The Common Grey Ragwort is found in the lofty heights of the Alpine belt. It primarily grows on sunny Alpine grassland in poor low-calcareous soil. It belongs to the ragwort genus, one of the most species-rich genera in the flowering plant kingdom. Ragworts are found all over the world. Some species in South America and Africa are tree-shaped and in the African deserts there are numerous, very unusual species in this genus that are somewhat like succulents.
The Common Grey Ragwort grows to a height of between 5–10 cm. Its distinctive feathery lobed leaves are covered in fluffy white hairs. It forms several flower heads with yellow ligulate ray and disc florets which together form the entire inflorescence. Like most ragworts, this species is also highly poisonous.
Facts and Figures
The Common Grey Ragwort bears this genus’ characteristic white felty leaves, which is an adaptation that serves various purposes in the Alps. For example, they can shield the plant from UV radiation, protect it from being eaten, help it to cope with fluctuations in ambient humidity and prevent leaf surfaces from becoming wet.
In Switzerland, the Common Grey Ragwort is mainly found in the Valais region. This pretty species with its egg-yolk-yellow flower heads is very common on the Gornergrat ridge. more information