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Smooth Hawksbeard

Crepis capillaris

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Treasureflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White African Daisy, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Annual or Biennial
Maximum Size:
70 centimetres tall
Grassland, meadows, roadsides, rocky places, walls, wasteland.

Yellow, many petals
Species of Hawksbeard are distinguishable by the two rows of bracts on their flowerheads. Smooth Hawksbeard is the commonest Hawksbeard in the UK. Its bright yellow dandelion-like flowers are often reddish on the undersides of its florets. The flowers are smaller than those of other Hawksbeard species, up to 15mm across.
Dandelion-like seeds (pappuses).
A small and slender annual flower with numerous shiny basal leaves which are pinnately lobed. The only hairless Hawksbeard, hence the flowers name.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Crepis capillaris, also known as smooth hawksbeard or smooth hawk's-beard, is a species of perennial herb in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe and North Africa and is typically found in grassland habitats such as meadows, pastures, and roadsides. It has a rosette of basal leaves and produces a tall stem with small, yellow composite flowers that bloom in late spring to early summer. The flowers are arranged in a dense, cylindrical head, and the fruit is an achene. The plant is hardy and easy to grow, it can tolerate poor soils and dry conditions. It is not commonly cultivated, but it is sometimes used as an ornamental plant. The plant is known to have medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine as a diuretic, laxative, and to treat skin diseases. The plant is known for its smooth stem and leaves, which are not covered in hair as in other Crepis species.


Smooth Hawksbeard, also known as Crepis capillaris, is a common annual weed that belongs to the family Asteraceae. It is native to Europe, but it can be found in various parts of the world, including North America, Asia, and Australia. This plant is usually found in disturbed areas such as fields, roadsides, and waste places. It has become an invasive weed in some regions and can be difficult to control.


Smooth Hawksbeard is an erect annual plant that can grow up to 70 cm tall. It has a deep taproot system that helps it to survive in dry conditions. The stem is slender, hairy, and branched at the top. The leaves are alternate, narrow, and toothed, with a length of 3-8 cm. The flowers are yellow and arranged in clusters at the top of the stem. They bloom from June to October, and each flower head can produce up to 20 seeds.

Habitat and Distribution

Smooth Hawksbeard is a weed that prefers disturbed areas such as fields, roadsides, and waste places. It can grow in a wide range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. It can tolerate both dry and moist conditions and can grow in areas with low fertility. Smooth Hawksbeard is native to Europe, but it has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America, Asia, and Australia. It is considered an invasive species in some regions, particularly in North America.


Smooth Hawksbeard can be difficult to control because of its deep taproot system and prolific seed production. However, several methods can be used to manage this weed, including cultural, mechanical, and chemical control.

Cultural control involves preventing the establishment of Smooth Hawksbeard by maintaining healthy turfgrass, rotating crops, and avoiding overgrazing.

Mechanical control involves physically removing the weed, either by hand pulling or using a hoe or cultivator. This method is most effective when the weed is in its early stages of growth.

Chemical control involves using herbicides to kill the weed. Several herbicides are effective against Smooth Hawksbeard, including glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba. However, caution should be taken when using herbicides, as they can harm non-target plants and animals.

Smooth Hawksbeard is a common annual weed that can be found in various parts of the world. It is an invasive species in some regions and can be difficult to control. However, several methods can be used to manage this weed, including cultural, mechanical, and chemical control. If you encounter Smooth Hawksbeard in your area, it is best to take action to prevent its spread and establishment.

More Information

Smooth Hawksbeard is a weed that can have negative impacts on agricultural productivity, biodiversity, and ecosystem health. It can compete with crops for nutrients, water, and sunlight, reducing crop yields and quality. It can also outcompete native plant species, reducing biodiversity and altering ecosystem function.

Smooth Hawksbeard can also be a problem in urban areas, where it can grow in cracks in sidewalks and pavement, making these areas unsightly and potentially hazardous. In addition, its deep taproot system can make it difficult to remove from these areas.

While Smooth Hawksbeard is a weed that can be difficult to control, preventing its establishment is key to effective management. This can be achieved by promoting healthy plant communities through proper land management practices, such as reducing soil disturbance and minimizing the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

In addition, early detection and rapid response are critical to preventing the spread of Smooth Hawksbeard. If you spot this weed in your area, report it to your local authorities and take action to remove it before it can spread further.

Smooth Hawksbeard has been used for various medicinal purposes for centuries. It has been used in traditional medicine to treat respiratory ailments such as coughs and bronchitis. The leaves and flowers of the plant contain flavonoids, phenolic acids, and other compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, it is important to note that the safety and effectiveness of using Smooth Hawksbeard for medicinal purposes have not been thoroughly researched, and it should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Smooth Hawksbeard is also a valuable source of food for some wildlife species, including rabbits and birds. The seeds of the plant are a food source for birds such as finches and sparrows, while the leaves and stems are eaten by rabbits and other herbivores.

In some cultures, Smooth Hawksbeard has also been used for culinary purposes. The young leaves and stems can be eaten raw or cooked, and they have a slightly bitter taste. However, it is important to note that consuming plants from the wild can be risky, as they may contain harmful substances or contaminants.

In conclusion, while Smooth Hawksbeard is primarily considered a weed, it also has some potential uses in medicine, food, and wildlife habitat. However, further research is needed to fully understand its potential benefits and risks. If you are considering using Smooth Hawksbeard for any purpose, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional or other expert to ensure its safety and efficacy.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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