Open the Advanced Search

Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed

Pilosella praealta

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.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


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 Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, 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:
50 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, meadows, roadsides, walls, wasteland.

Yellow, many petals
The flowers are yellow and dandelion-like.
The fruit is an achene. An achene is a seed with whitish feathery hairs attached to the end.
Green, lance-shaped leaves mainly forming a basal rosette.
Other Names:
King Devil Hawkweed, Tall Hawksbeard.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Pilosella praealta, also known as tall hawksbeard, is a species of perennial herb in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia, 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. The stem and leaves of the plant are covered in fine white hair giving it a hairy appearance. 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 species is known for its tall stem and the leaves are arranged in a basal rosette.


Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, also known by its scientific name Pilosella praealta, is a perennial herbaceous plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe, but it has also been introduced to North America, where it has become an invasive species in some areas.

The plant is characterized by its tall stem, which can reach up to 50 cm in height, and its large basal leaves that are covered in fine, silky hairs. The leaves are oblong in shape and can grow up to 20 cm long. The stem of the plant is topped with a cluster of bright yellow flowers that resemble daisies, with each flower being about 2-3 cm in diameter.

Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a hardy plant that is well-adapted to a variety of habitats, including meadows, pastures, and forest clearings. It prefers well-drained soils and can tolerate a range of pH levels. It is often found in disturbed areas, such as roadsides and railway tracks, and can quickly establish itself in new areas.

One of the reasons why Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed has become an invasive species in some areas is its ability to reproduce rapidly. The plant can spread through both seeds and vegetative reproduction, with each individual plant producing numerous runners that can develop into new plants. This allows the plant to quickly colonize new areas and outcompete native plant species.

In addition to its invasive tendencies, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed also poses a threat to livestock. The plant contains alkaloids that can be toxic to animals if ingested in large quantities. Livestock that graze on pastures containing Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed can experience digestive issues, reduced weight gain, and other health problems.

Despite its negative impact on the environment and livestock, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed does have some medicinal properties. The plant has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory issues, skin conditions, and digestive problems. However, it is important to note that the plant can be toxic in large quantities and should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a plant with both positive and negative attributes. While it may have some medicinal properties, it is also an invasive species that can outcompete native plant species and harm livestock. As such, it is important to monitor the spread of this plant and take steps to control its growth in areas where it is not native.

Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a plant that is often confused with other species in the same family, such as Common Hawkweed (Hieracium vulgatum) and Orange Hawkweed (Pilosella aurantiaca). These plants have similar yellow flowers and basal leaves, but there are subtle differences in their appearance and habitat preferences. Common Hawkweed, for example, has more pointed leaves and prefers more acidic soils, while Orange Hawkweed has a more orange-colored flower and prefers rocky soils.

To control the spread of Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, several management strategies can be employed. One approach is to manually remove the plant by digging up the roots and disposing of them. This can be effective for small infestations, but it can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Another approach is to use herbicides to kill the plant, but this can also have negative impacts on the surrounding ecosystem and should only be used as a last resort.

Preventing the spread of Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed is also important. This can be done by avoiding the transport of soil or plant material from areas where the plant is present, as well as by planting native plant species in areas that are at risk of invasion. Early detection and rapid response can also help to prevent the establishment of Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed in new areas.

Apart from its ecological and medicinal properties, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed also has some cultural significance. In some European countries, the plant has been used in traditional folklore and art. For example, in Slovenia, the plant is known as "Hudičeva roža" or "devil's flower" and is believed to have magical powers that can protect against evil spirits. In Poland, the plant is called "Sasanka wielkokwiatowa" and is featured in traditional embroidery designs.

In recent years, there has been increased interest in using Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed as a food source. The plant contains high levels of inulin, a type of dietary fiber that has been shown to have health benefits, such as improving gut health and regulating blood sugar levels. The leaves and stems of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked and have a slightly bitter taste. However, it is important to note that the plant can be toxic in large quantities and should only be consumed in moderation.

In addition to its potential as a food source, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed has also been studied for its potential as a biocontrol agent. Researchers have identified several natural enemies of the plant, including insects and fungi, that could be used to control its growth in areas where it is invasive. However, more research is needed to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of this approach.

Overall, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a plant with a rich history and a complex set of properties. While it may have some positive attributes, such as its potential as a food source and its cultural significance, it is important to carefully manage its growth and prevent its spread in areas where it is not native. By doing so, we can help to preserve the health and biodiversity of our ecosystems.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map