BRISTLY OXTONGUE

Helminthotheca echioides

(Formerly: Picris echioides)
Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]

Flowers:
month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct month8nov

Pappus: pappusZpossible (short)
pappus8sep pappus8sept pappus8oct pappus8nov pappus8dec

status
statusZarchaeophyte
flower
flower8yellow
inner
inner8orange
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZMany
stem
stem8round
contact
contactZlowish

3rd July 2013, Horton, Nr. Ilminster, Somerset Photo: © Kenneth Layzell
About 80cm high. A Dandelion-type flower with orange-reddish stripes on the outer ray-florets, like several Hawksbeards and Hawkweeds.


3rd July 2013, Horton, Nr. Ilminster, Somerset Photo: © Kenneth Layzell
The leaves are covered in bristly hairs which are quite sharp!


3rd July 2013, Horton, Nr. Ilminster, Somerset Photo: © Kenneth Layzell
Leaves mainly long and narrow, but the most distinctive feature are the large pimple-like glands where the bristles emerge.


3rd July 2013, Horton, Nr. Ilminster, Somerset Photo: © Kenneth Layzell
Flower-heads usually bunched close together. Hairs on stems are whitish and lack pimply glands and are not bristly. Large pimply glands on leaves most visible on leaf lower left.


3rd July 2013, Horton, Nr. Ilminster, Somerset Photo: © Kenneth Layzell
Flower-heads usually bunched close together. these have finished flowering and will soon bear parachuted seeds (a pappus).


3rd July 2013, Horton, Nr. Ilminster, Somerset Photo: © Kenneth Layzell
The outer bracts on the flowers are broad, triangular and are covered in hairs and just a few bristles.


3rd July 2013, Horton, Nr. Ilminster, Somerset Photo: © Kenneth Layzell
Bracts around flower (dead centre), pimply leaves with bristles around it.


3rd July 2013, Horton, Nr. Ilminster, Somerset Photo: © Kenneth Layzell
The whitish-green pimples on the leaves vary in size. Leaves with similarly-coloured pale-green mid-rib.


3rd July 2013, Horton, Nr. Ilminster, Somerset Photo: © Kenneth Layzell
Glandless hairy/bristly stems and pimply/bristly leaves. The hair pimples on the basal leaves are more prominent than those on the basal leaves of Common Fiddleneck (Amsinckia micrantha).


3rd July 2013, Horton, Nr. Ilminster, Somerset Photo: © Kenneth Layzell
The bristles look vicious but are just slightly prickly. Leaves curled over at the edges.


Not to be semantically confused with : Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Autumn Oxeye (Leucanthemum serotina), Hawkweed Oxtongue (Picris hierarcioides) [plants with similar names and belonging to the same Family but in a differing genus but which have white petals which are broader]. Nor with Yellow Oxeye (Telekia speciosa) or Hawkweed Oxtongue (Picris hieracioides) which are also yellow and in the same family but in differing genera. Oxlip (), Yellow Oxytropis (Oxytropis campestris), Oxtongue Broomrape (Orobanche picridis) and Purple Oxytropis (Oxytropis halleri) also sound similar but are in differing families altogether.

Similarities to : Hawkweed Oxtongue (Picris hierarcioides), and appears as 4 differing sub-species: ssp. hieracioides, ssp. spinulosa, ssp. villarsii, ssp. grandiflora. All have stiff bristles on the stems which are hooked at their ends.

Some similarities to : Common Fiddleneck (Amsinckia micrantha) which is about the same height, has very similar leaves with similar bristles and stems and yellow-coloured flowers but they are 5-petalled and belong to the different Borage Family (Boraginaceae).

Distinguishing Feature : the large pale-green pimples on the leaves where bristles emerge.

Bristly Oxtongue is in a genus all on its' own. It inhabits rough grassy places especially near the sea or on clayey soils. It is a biennial/annual. Its scientific name alludes to its former use as a treatment for internal infestations of parasitic worms, or helminths. The anthelmintic properties are bestowed upon the plant by the milky white latex containing several sesquiterpene lactones, such as Lactucin, DeOxyLactucin and Lactucopicrin. It seems some animals such as dogs may self-medicate themselves by eating the plant with relish, according to one owner. There is a trend amongst the Asteraceae family to possess such sesquiterpene lactones within the hair glands, but in the case of Chicory, Sow-thistles such as Smooth Sow-Thistle and Lettuce they are components of the milky sap of the stems (or of the roots in the case of Chicory). The Author has investigated the chemical composition of currently prescribed anthelmintics and finds that none of them are lactones.


  Helminthotheca echioides  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asteraceae  

Distribution
 family8Daisy & Dandelion family8Asteraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Helminthotheca
Helminthotheca
(Oxtongues)

BRISTLY OXTONGUE

Helminthotheca echioides

(Formerly: Picris echioides)
Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]