HAWKWEED OXTONGUE

Picris hieracioides

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

status
statusZnative
ssp. hier + spin     
status
statusZneophyte
ssp. vill + gran
flower
flower8yellow
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZMany
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8ribbed
 

23rd Aug 2018, incline, Treeton Dyke, Rotherham. Photo: © RWD
Well above their stated maximum height of 1m, these are about 2m high! The lower part of the stem is often reddish.


23rd Aug 2018, incline, Treeton Dyke, Rotherham. Photo: © RWD
It is not a Hawkweed, it just looks more like one than any other non-hawkweed. Branches branch off alternately up the main stem with a leaf just beneath the junction. Each branch with a small conglomeration of flowers near the end.


18th July 2009, Chale Green, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


18th July 2009, Chale Green, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Flowers yellow tending towards deep-yellow.


23rd Aug 2018, incline, Treeton Dyke, Rotherham. Photo: © RWD
Flowers in small congregations of 3 to 6 flowers branching off near the end of a stem. The flower stalks often branch of at right-angles, as one does in this small bunch. Here there are perhaps 7 flowers in a bunch, and another just below. With the phyllaries on the specimens from Chale Green being blackish-green and from Southern England, they are probably either ssp. villarsii or ssp. grandiflora (and do not grow in Northern England - yet...). )


23rd Aug 2018, incline, Treeton Dyke, Rotherham. Photo: © RWD
Each flower has two sets of phyllaries cupping each flower: with the inner phyllaries being appressed to the flower. The phyllaries of the specimens from Rotherham are dull-green (rather than blackish-green) and are therefore ssp. hieraciodes which have phyllaries 11-13mm long and 1 to 1.5mm wide. These are the most common of the 4 sub-species of Hawkweed Oxtongue, being found scattered almost all over the UK. [The forth sub-species ssp. spinulosa (which also has dull-green phyllaries albeit a smidgen shorter at 9-11mm long) is only found in Jersey].

However, some of the flower stalks on the above photo are very short, which would (erroneously) indicate this as being ssp. villarsii but the phyllaries are dull-green (rather than blackish-green) and Rotherham is not yet in Southern England!.



23rd Aug 2018, incline, Treeton Dyke, Rotherham. Photo: © RWD
The ray-florets can be orange-red on their outer surfaces. there are several concolorous long styles around the centre.


23rd Aug 2018, incline, Treeton Dyke, Rotherham. Photo: © RWD
The lower stem is leafy with sinuate and irregularly lobed or toothed leaves. Other leaves are narrow-elliptic.


23rd Aug 2018, incline, Treeton Dyke, Rotherham. Photo: © RWD
The oddly bulging flower on the right holds an as-yet unopened pappus within.


23rd Aug 2018, incline, Treeton Dyke, Rotherham. Photo: © RWD
The centre shows the empty flower after the parachute hairs with seeds have all blown away. It is now much easier to count how many seeds it once held.


23rd Aug 2018, incline, Treeton Dyke, Rotherham. Photo: © RWD


23rd Aug 2018, incline, Treeton Dyke, Rotherham. Photo: © RWD
The stem hairs are fairly long and have a minute T-bar at the tip, for what purpose, who knows unless it's to carry broken stems further afield on the backs of passing hairy animals in the somewhat forlorn hope them might plant themselves elsewhere and then grow again... Or maybe it is just a case of 'split-ends'; some of the hairs do look as though they have split minutely at the tip. Could it be a means of keeping the plant warmer from the winds - the aerodynamic properties of hairs must surely be modified by a minute split at their apex.

Stace describes the stem hairs as





FASCIATION & PROLIFERATION

 Mutations Menu

Afton Cliffs, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
Although these very wide stems may look round, they probably are not, especially when you look at the angled view below: they are broad but thin - a characteristic of a fasciated plant. The proliferation of long narrow leaves is also characteristic; the leaves are highly abnormal (look at the leaves of a normal plant above).


Afton Cliffs, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
Both flowers and abnormal leaves have proliferated here, but the stem is wide and flat. They are also abnormally short, given that the plant can reach 1m and exceptionally 2m. The fasciation/proliferation might(?) be a result of damage (by mowing, for instance?). But there are many other differing possibilities of reasons for these abnormalities.


Afton Cliffs, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
The stem is as wide as about 6 biro pens side-by-side (but much narrower at 90° round)


Afton Cliffs, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
There are very short hairs on the leaf edges.


Afton Cliffs, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
Whether the plant has fasciation or proliferation or what, the seed heads look normal and un-modified, as presumably are the seeds, some of which are partly visible top left.


Afton Cliffs, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
A lone seed with it's simple parachute of feathered hairs. Stace describes the seeds as being somewhat flattened, weakly ribbed and transversely wrinkled and not beaked to shortly beaked (to less than half the length of its body). (Your Author only assumes that this is the seed of Hawkweed Oxtongue - it might not be - but it does have a similar orangish colour to those in the photo above this one, top left).


26th Nov 2018, Compton Down, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
At nearly end-on the reader can see how wide but ribbon-like these fasciated stems are. The flowers are proliferated atop.


26th Nov 2018, Compton Down, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
This specimen has an exceptionally hairy stem which also appears narrowly grooved lengthways.


Easily confused semantically with : Hawkweeds (Hieracium species) [plants with similar names belonging to differing genus within the same Asteraceae family]. It just looks most similar to a Hawkweed.

Not to be semantically confused with : Bristly Oxtongue (Helminthotheca echioides) which was formerly thought to be a member of the Picris Genus [a plant with similar name, and similar appearance apart from its bucket-shaped phyllaries just below the flower and its mesa-shaped pimples with stiff bristles on the leaves]. Nor with Oxtongue Broomrape (Orobanche picridis) which looks nothing like it at all.

Easily mistaken for : other yellow-flowered members of the Asteraceae family, of which there are dozens!

Exists as 4 sub-species:

  • (Picris hieracioides ssp. hieracioides) which is native and the more common, occurring in grassland or rough open ground on limy soils. Phyllaries dull-green and 11-13mm long by 1 to 1.5mm wide;
  • (Picris hieracioides ssp. spinulosa) which is only probably native and the least common, occurring only in Jersey. Phyllaries dull-green 9 to 11mm long and 1 to 1.5mm wide.
  • (Picris hieracioides ssp. villarsii) which is an introduced but now naturalised version found scattered in Southern England on rough ground with clusters of flowers on either long, short or nearly non-existent branches. Phyllaries blackish-green 8 to 13mm long by 1 to 1.5mm wide
  • (Picris hieracioides ssp. ) which is which is an introduced but now naturalised version found in Cambridgeshire (and maybe other places in Southern England) on rough ground. Phyllaries blackish-green 10 to 15mm long but wider than all others at 2 to 2.5mm wide


  Picris hieracioides  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asteraceae  

Distribution
 family8Daisy & Dandelion family8Asteraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Picris
Picris
(Hawkweed Oxtongue)

HAWKWEED OXTONGUE

Picris hieracioides

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]