Jameswort, Cankerweed, Baughlan.
Time of bloom: June to November.
Seed-time: July to December.
Range: Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Quebec; locally in Ontario, Maine, southern New York, and New Jersey.
The range of this coarse and dangerous weed is not at present very extensive, and every effort should be made to prevent its further dissemination. When eaten by cattle it causes a fatal disease of the liver (Hepatic cirrhosis), locally known as Pictou Disease, which for many years was supposed to be contagious because of the fact that whole herds were often affected at the same time. But long investigation and a series of careful experiments made under the direction of the Veterinary Director General of the Dominion of Canada have proved that this weed is the cause of the trouble. The Molteno Cattle Disease of South Africa is similar and is due to the same cause. When green, the whole plant emits a most disagreeable, fetid odor, and is disliked by grazing animals; but when dried in hay it is freely eaten by all kinds of stock and is then a serious danger. Plants that are harvested and cured just before coming into bloom are said to be at their most noxious stage. (Fig. 352.)
The weed springs from rather shallow and fibrous roots, from which a few short, thick rootstocks are extended. Stem two to three feet tall, erect, stiff, grooved, very leafy, and branching at the top. Leaves dark green, deeply twice pinnatifid, the terminal segment largest, particularly of the lower leaves, which are six to eight inches long and petioled; stem-leaves more slender, smaller, and sessile. Flowers in large, many-headed, branching, flat-topped clusters, very showy and handsome. Heads golden yellow, nearly an inch broad, with twelve to fifteen wedge-shaped rays, toothed at their tips. Both rays and disk-florets are fertile. Achenes light yellow, grooved, oblong, those of the disk-florets bristly and straight, those of the rays smooth and curved. Pappus very copious, white, and silky.
All plants in infested meadows should be pulled or grubbed out while in their earliest bloom, before the hay is harvested. Plants in pastures, in waste places, and on roadsides should be closely cut, piled, and burned before any seed has matured to be sown by the wind about the countryside. A short rotation of cultivated crops would cleanse infested ground of both its perennial roots and its dormant seeds.