I am a well experienced gardener and farmer with a growing interest in alternative methods of using herbal plants instead of chemicals for pest management and have came across a notoriously bad rep plant called common ragwort tansy. I have done a lot of research into this plant and have not found any information on the plant used as a mild pesticide spray for common insects like cabbage moth caterpillars and aphids. My question arose from observing that no insects or animals go near it due to its unpleasant smell and poisonous alkaloids. I am wondering if a person can use such a plant for such purposes?

  • I don't have an answer but have you tried searching Google Scholar by it's latin name? A quick look and I saw something about a study on anthropod populations when including the plant in grasslands scholar.google.com/scholar?q=jacobaea+vulgaris Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 17:40
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    There are a couple of plants that are often confused: Tansy Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris) and Common Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). Can you confirm that you're talking about the first, J. vulgaris?
    – Niall C.
    Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 14:34
  • I can tell you that Tansy makes excellent compost heap fodder. If you're dealing with cabbage family aphids that have that waterproof downy coat, neem oil has proven to be a very good insecticide as it soaks right in to the down. Not a direct answer to the question, but if you find the Tansy useless, it's not a total waste and the cabbages will be protected as well. Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 18:28

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You can use it as a pesticide since it has alkaloids just like you can use plants with nicotine. But I would advise against it because you do not know if you or other animals accidentally ingest it. Livestock can get liver damage from ingestion a lots of it and there is no known cure for poisioning.


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