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Mouse-ear Hawkweed

Pilosella officinarum

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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, 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 Hawksbeard, 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:
Maximum Size:
40 centimetres tall
Cliffs, fields, grassland, heathland, lawns, meadows, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, many petals
Mouse-ear Hawkweed, native to Europe and present in the UK, bears small, daisy-like flowers with striking yellow-orange petals. These blossoms, charming in their simplicity, boast a distinctive appearance and are arranged in clusters. The flowers, known for their vibrant hue, bloom from late spring to early autumn, contributing to the plant's overall visual appeal. The petals surround a central disk, creating a characteristic composite flower structure. Additionally, the flowers are accompanied by hairy leaves, adding to the plant's overall texture and unique aesthetic.
The fruit of Mouse-ear Hawkweed consists of small, achene-type seeds. Following the flowering period, these seeds develop within the ovary of the flower and are enclosed in a dry, single-seeded fruit known as an achene. The achenes are typically dispersed by the wind, allowing the plant to propagate and establish itself in new areas. The reproductive strategy of Mouse-ear Hawkweed involves the production and dispersal of these tiny seeds, contributing to its ability to colonize diverse habitats.
Mouse-ear Hawkweed features leaves that are characterized by their lance-shaped form and distinctively hairy texture. These leaves grow in a basal rosette arrangement close to the ground, showcasing a unique mouse-ear shape, which is the inspiration for the plant's common name. The leaf margins may appear slightly toothed, contributing to the overall rugged appearance. The presence of fine hairs on the leaves adds a layer of texture and provides some protection against herbivores. This foliage, with its green hue and distinctive shape, is a key identifier of Mouse-ear Hawkweed in various habitats, contributing to the plant's visual allure.
Mouse-ear Hawkweed is not typically known for having a distinct fragrance. Unlike some flowers that are cultivated for their aromatic qualities, Mouse-ear Hawkweed tends to be more discreet in this aspect. The plant's focus appears to be on its visual appeal rather than olfactory allure. Therefore, individuals exploring natural spaces where this plant thrives may not encounter any notable fragrance associated with Mouse-ear Hawkweed. It is primarily appreciated for its charming appearance and ecological characteristics rather than any distinctive scent.
Other Names:
Hawkweed, Meadow Hawkweed, Mouse Ear.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Pilosella officinarum, also known as hawkweed, mouse-ear hawkweed or meadow hawkweed, is a perennial herb in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia and can be found growing in meadows, pastures, and rocky slopes. The plant has basal rosette of hairy leaves and yellow flower heads that bloom from May to September. It is considered a weed in many parts of the world, particularly in agricultural fields, lawns and gardens. It can form dense stands that outcompete native vegetation. It is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments such as skin conditions and wounds.


Mouse-ear Hawkweed, scientifically known as Pilosella officinarum, is a small but resilient plant species that belongs to the Asteraceae family. This plant species is native to Europe and has become widespread across many continents, including North America, Australia, and Asia. It is commonly found in meadows, pastures, and grasslands, and has become a problematic weed in some areas.

Physical Description

Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to 40cm in height. Its leaves are oblong and covered in fine hairs, which give them a soft, velvety texture, resembling the ears of a mouse. The plant produces clusters of small yellow flowers that bloom from May to September. Each flower head consists of numerous tiny individual flowers.

Habitat and Distribution

Mouse-ear Hawkweed is native to Europe and has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America, Asia, and Australia. It is commonly found in meadows, pastures, and grasslands, and can also grow in disturbed areas such as roadsides and waste grounds. It is a hardy plant that can thrive in a variety of soils and climates.

Ecological Impact

Mouse-ear Hawkweed can have a negative impact on the ecosystem it invades. It can outcompete native plant species and reduce the biodiversity of an area. It is also known to be toxic to some grazing animals, particularly cattle and horses, which can lead to a decline in their health and productivity.

Control Measures

There are several control measures that can be used to manage the spread of Mouse-ear Hawkweed. These include physical methods such as hand-pulling or mowing, chemical control using herbicides, and biological control using natural enemies such as insects or fungi. The most effective approach is usually a combination of different methods tailored to the specific situation.


Despite its negative impact on ecosystems, Mouse-ear Hawkweed has been used for medicinal purposes in traditional herbal medicine. The plant contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties and has been used to treat conditions such as kidney stones and urinary tract infections. However, it is important to note that the plant can be toxic in large quantities and should not be used without proper medical guidance.

Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a small but resilient plant species that has become widespread across the globe. While it has some medicinal properties, it can have a negative impact on the ecosystem and is considered a problematic weed in some areas. Effective control measures are essential to prevent its spread and protect native plant and animal species.

More Information about Mouse-ear Hawkweed

Mouse-ear Hawkweed has an interesting history of traditional use. In Europe, it was believed to have magical properties and was used as an ingredient in love potions. In some parts of Europe, it was also believed to have protective properties against witches.

In addition to its traditional medicinal use, Mouse-ear Hawkweed has also been studied for its potential in other areas such as agriculture and industry. For example, the plant contains compounds that have been shown to have insecticidal properties, which could be useful in the development of natural pest control products.

Despite its negative impact on ecosystems, Mouse-ear Hawkweed has also been used as a food source in some cultures. The young leaves and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked, and have a slightly bitter taste. However, it is important to exercise caution when consuming the plant, as it can be toxic in large quantities.

Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a plant species with an interesting history and potential for use in various industries. While it can have a negative impact on ecosystems, it is important to continue studying the plant and its potential uses in order to find ways to manage its spread and mitigate its negative effects.

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the potential of Mouse-ear Hawkweed as a source of bioactive compounds for use in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Studies have shown that the plant contains compounds such as flavonoids and sesquiterpene lactones, which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumor properties.

Researchers are also exploring the potential of Mouse-ear Hawkweed as a source of natural dyes. The plant contains pigments that can produce shades of yellow, orange, and red, and could be used as an alternative to synthetic dyes.

In some areas where Mouse-ear Hawkweed is invasive, efforts are being made to turn the plant into a useful resource. For example, in New Zealand, researchers are exploring the potential of the plant as a feed source for bees and as a biocontrol agent against other invasive weeds.

Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a plant species with a complex history and a range of potential uses. While its impact on ecosystems can be negative, continued research into the plant and its properties could lead to new innovations and solutions to a range of challenges.

Mouse-ear Hawkweed is also known for its ability to tolerate harsh environmental conditions such as drought and cold temperatures. This makes it a potentially valuable species for use in phytoremediation, which involves using plants to remove pollutants from contaminated soils or water. Studies have shown that Mouse-ear Hawkweed can accumulate heavy metals such as zinc and cadmium, which could be useful in cleaning up contaminated sites.

In addition to its potential uses in various industries, Mouse-ear Hawkweed is also an important plant species in many traditional cultures. In some indigenous communities, the plant is used for spiritual and ceremonial purposes, and is believed to have protective and healing properties.

Despite its resilience and potential uses, Mouse-ear Hawkweed remains a problematic weed in many areas. Effective management and control measures are essential to prevent its spread and protect native plant and animal species. Continued research into the plant's properties and potential uses could also lead to new ways to manage its impact on ecosystems and turn it into a valuable resource.

30 Marvellous Mouse-ear Hawkweed Facts

  1. Scientific Name: Pilosella officinarum.
  2. Common Name: Mouse-ear Hawkweed.
  3. Family: Asteraceae.
  4. Origin: Native to Europe and Asia.
  5. Invasive Species: Mouse-ear Hawkweed is considered invasive in some regions outside its native range.
  6. Appearance: Small, daisy-like flowers with yellow-orange petals and hairy leaves.
  7. Height: Typically grows between 10 to 40 centimeters in height.
  8. Habitat: Thrives in meadows, grasslands, open woodlands, and disturbed areas.
  9. Reproduction: Primarily reproduces through seeds but can also spread through rhizomes.
  10. Blooming Period: Flowers typically bloom from late spring to early autumn.
  11. Aggressive Growth: Known for its ability to form dense colonies, outcompeting native vegetation.
  12. Leaf Characteristics: Leaves are hairy, lance-shaped, and have a distinct mouse-ear shape.
  13. Root System: Has a shallow, fibrous root system.
  14. Ecological Impact: Can disrupt local ecosystems and reduce biodiversity due to its invasive nature.
  15. Cultural Uses: Historically used in traditional medicine for various ailments.
  16. Wildlife Interaction: Attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
  17. Control Methods: Management strategies include herbicide application, mowing, and manual removal.
  18. Adaptability: Thrives in a variety of soil types and environmental conditions.
  19. Medical Properties: Contains compounds with potential medicinal properties, though more research is needed.
  20. Invasive Control Challenges: Its adaptability and rapid growth make it challenging to control in invaded areas.
  21. Geographical Spread: Found in North America, Australia, and New Zealand as an invasive species.
  22. Cultural Significance: Some cultures associate symbolic meanings with the plant.
  23. Herbal Uses: Traditional uses include treating respiratory issues and digestive disorders.
  24. Allelopathic Qualities: May release chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants.
  25. Seed Production: A single plant can produce a large number of seeds, contributing to its invasive success.
  26. Environmental Impact: Displacement of native vegetation can impact soil stability and water retention.
  27. Herbicide Resistance: Some populations have developed resistance to certain herbicides.
  28. Identification: Can be identified by its distinctive rosette of leaves and hairy stems.
  29. Edibility: While not commonly consumed, there are no known toxic effects.
  30. Conservation Concerns: Efforts to control its spread are essential to protect native ecosystems.


Mouse-ear Hawkweed filmed at Scout Scar in Cumbria on the 26th May 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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