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Hypochaeris radicata - Common Cats-ear

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Asterales - Family: Asteraceae

Common catsear

Description

This perennial member of the daisy family (Asteraceae) usually has two or occasionally three flowers on a branched stem. With Dandelion-like flowers and seed heads, Common Cat's-ear is probably best distinguished by its wavy-edged leaves which are never cut right to the central rib; on their upper sides the leaves are green with tiny pumples and fine hairs, while they are more grey-green and smooth underneath.Basal leaf of Common Cat's-ear

There are narrow, pointed bracts backing the flower heads and sometimes on the upper stems, but above the basal leaf rosette there are no real leaves along the hairless stems.

Common Cat's-ear stem and flower

Habitat

Common Cat's-ear favours fairly dry grassland, wasteland, car park edges and even crevices between pavements and urban roadside walls.

Common Cat's-ear in dry grassland at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

Blooming times

Common Cats-ear blooms from June through to October. The plants shown on this page were photographed in west Wales during June.

Common Cat's-ear in an urban environment

Similar species

There are many other members of the hawkweed, hawkbit and hawksbeard clan; for the most part their flowers are very similar, and species are usually best distinguished by studying the leaves. One distinctive orange hawkweed, Pilosella aurantiaca, is commonly known as Fox and Cubs.