CAT'S-EAR

Hypochaeris radicata

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]

Flowers:
month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

Pappus: pappusZpossible (white)
pappus8sep pappus8sept pappus8oct pappus8nov

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8yellow
inner
inner8orange
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZMany
stem
stem8round

6th June 2011, extinct railway embankment, Langsett, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Grows up to 60cm high in sparse groupings on short turf and other grassy places.


6th June 2011, extinct railway embankment, Langsett, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Un-like Dandelions, the stems can branch and are not hollow................ OR HOLLOW????


26th June 2017, Marsden moors (bout'at), West Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD


30th June 2016, sandheath dunes, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The stems can reach 60cm high, and can be branched, or not. This specimen has 2 branches.


30th June 2016, sandheath dunes, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
One of the smaller branches; flower in very early stages of growth.


11th Sept 2007, Hollingworthall Moor, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Full frontal.


11th Sept 2007, Hollingworthall Moor, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The stems are smooth and hairless as they are on Smooth Cat's-ear (which has smooth leaves instead).


6th June 2011, extinct railway embankment, Langsett, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
The outer ray florets have an orange/reddish stripe on the outside, but so do several other flowers (but never Dandelions).


6th June 2011, extinct railway embankment, Langsett, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
The flower has numerous deep-yellow ray florets, and a small grouping of disc-florets in the centre.


6th June 2011, extinct railway embankment, Langsett, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Although the stem thickens as it nears the flower, in Common Cat's-ear it always abruptly increases at the bracts/phyllaries.


30th June 2016, sandheath dunes, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The most distinctive feature are the small number of short scale-like bracts up the little-branched leafless stems.


30th June 2016, sandheath dunes, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Phyllaries or scale-like bracts are of differing length.


30th June 2016, sandheath dunes, Freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Phyllaries/bracts have curved 'chaffy' scales down the centre on the outerside and near the end which some books call a 'cockscomb'.


6th June 2011, extinct railway embankment, Langsett, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
The chaffy scales, mostly near the end of the bracts/phyllaries.


26th June 2017, Marsden moors (bout'at), West Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Closes-up after having flowered.


11th Sept 2007, Hollingworth Moor, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Going to seed. Chaffy scales on red-tipped phyllaries, which seem to have grown longer now.


6th June 2011, extinct railway embankment, Langsett, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Without leaves on the stem the only leaves are in a basal rosette. Leaves have rounded lobes.


6th June 2011, extinct railway embankment, Langsett, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Leaves are covered in longish white hairs. Mid-rib may be tinged purple.


6th June 2011, extinct railway embankment, Langsett, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Long white hairs and well-rounded lobes.


27th July 2012, near Croston, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The pappus or seed-clock is an off-white light-brown colour.


26th June 2017, Marsden moors (bout'at), West Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
The round stems are hollow (despite some sources claiming that they are solid). The fleshy outer of the stem oozes a sparse white latex when broken which quickly turns brown (in a minute or two). The stem is hollow all the way through, narrowly at the bottom, wider at the top, so those who look at the bottom of the stem might think it looks solid when it is not.


27th July 2012, near Croston, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva), a member of the Cantharidae Family to which the poisonous Spanish Fly also belongs. It hunts mainly for small insects on flowers on either plants of the Umbellifer Family (Apiaceae or Daisy & Dandelion Family (Asteraceae) to which Cat's-ear belongs.


A FASCIATED EXAMPLE

 Mutations Menu

27th July 2012, near Croston, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A fasciated example of Cat's-ear, a genetic aberration where the flower is either doubled or extended.


Usually mistaken for : Dandelion which looks similar but has a hollow stem amongst numerous other differences.

Hybridizes with : Smooth Cat's-ear (Hypochaeris glabra) to produce Hypchaeris × intermedia which is intermediate between the two regarding the flower-head, and opens in both sunny or dull weather. It is less than 5% fertile and occurs in Merioneth and Fife, possibly other places too where it might be over-looked.

Some similarities to : Smooth Cat's-ear (Hypochaeris glabra) but that has smooth shiny leaves on the top surface and ray florets only twice as long as are wide (in Cat's-ear the ray florets are 4x longer than are wide) and also to Spotted Cat's-ear (Hypochaeris maculata) but that has dark blotches on the leaves. Neither are as ubiquitous in the UK as Cat's-ear and neither are present in the area where these photographs were taken.

No relation to : Catmint, Catnip, Lamb's-Ear, Sticky Mouse-ear, Common Mouse-ear, Little Mouse-ear, Sea Mouse-ear or Sickle Hare's-ear nor to the numerous Cat's-tail grasses. [plants with similar names].

Cat's-ear is by far the most common Cat's-ear and grows in short grass. Usually about a foot tall and similar to Dandelion, the major difference being the short bract-like scale (shaped like a cat's ear) just below the flower head. The flower-heads are solitary atop a little-branched and smooth stem without stem leaves. The only leaves are in a basal rosette and are dandelion type but with rounded lobes, and with longish white rough hairs.

The outside of the outer ray florets has an orange or reddish stripe, just like Smooth Hawk's-Beard, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Beaked Hawk's-beard and Great Lettuce do.

Might be confused with: Spotted Cat's-ear (Hypochaeris maculata) but that is a very rare [RRR] and has leaves which are usually either spotted or streaked with purple with the outer phyllaries usually uniformly hairy.


  Hypochaeris radicata  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asteraceae  

Distribution
 family8Daisy & Dandelion family8Asteraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Hypochaeris
Hypochaeris
(Cat's-ears)

CAT'S-EAR

Hypochaeris radicata

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]

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