Open the Advanced Search

Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed

Pilosella flagellaris

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, 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, 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:
15 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, roadsides, wasteland.

Yellow, many petals
A small cluster of 2 to 4, yellow, dandelion like flowers.
The fruit is a seed with feathery hairs attached at one end. It is technically known as an achene.
The leaves mostly appear in a basal rosette. The toothless leaves measure up to 13cm (5 inches) long. Perennial.
Other Names:
Field Hawksbeard, Spreading Mouse-ear Hawkweed.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Pilosella flagellaris is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family. It is commonly known as the field hawksbeard, and is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. The plant is a perennial herb with a creeping rootstock and upright stems that can reach up to 15 cm in height. The leaves are lanceolate, and the flowers are yellow, arranged in a corymb. It is typically found in grassland, meadows, and along the edges of fields.


Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, also known as Pilosella flagellaris, is a species of flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is a rare and protected species, found only in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, particularly in coastal cliffs and rocky outcrops.

The plant grows to a height of around 15 cm, with a basal rosette of leaves and a single, erect stem bearing one or two small, bright yellow flowers. The leaves are hairy and lance-shaped, and the flowers have distinctive reddish-brown bracts at the base. Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed blooms from May to July and is pollinated by insects, such as bees and butterflies.

Due to its restricted distribution and the decline of its habitat, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is considered a critically endangered species. It is threatened by grazing by livestock, competition from invasive plant species, and coastal erosion. In addition, its small population size makes it vulnerable to stochastic events, such as storms or disease outbreaks.

Conservation efforts for Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed have focused on habitat restoration, such as removing invasive plant species and protecting coastal cliffs from erosion. Monitoring programs have also been put in place to track the population size and distribution of the species, as well as to assess the effectiveness of conservation measures.

In addition to its ecological value, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed also has cultural significance in the Shetland Islands. It is featured on the coat of arms of the Shetland Islands Council, and is part of the local folklore and traditions. For example, the plant is associated with the myth of the Selkie, a seal-like creature that can transform into a human.

Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a rare and protected species that plays an important role in the ecosystem of the Shetland Islands. Its conservation is vital to preserve the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the region.

Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is not only a unique and rare species, but it is also an indicator of the health of the Shetland Island ecosystem. Its presence or absence can be a sign of changes in the local environment and climate. As such, conservation efforts for Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed can have broader implications for the conservation of the entire Shetland Island ecosystem.

Furthermore, the cultural significance of Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed highlights the importance of the connection between nature and culture. It is a reminder that nature is not just a resource to be exploited, but it is also a source of identity, tradition, and inspiration. Protecting rare and endangered species like Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is not only a matter of ecological sustainability but also of cultural heritage.

Lastly, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is an example of the global issue of biodiversity loss. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), one in four species of plants are threatened with extinction. The decline of biodiversity has serious implications for the well-being of ecosystems and human societies. By protecting rare and endangered species like Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, we are contributing to the global effort to halt biodiversity loss and preserve the planet's natural heritage.

Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a rare and protected species that plays an important role in the ecosystem and cultural heritage of the Shetland Islands. Its conservation is not only vital for the local environment but also has broader implications for the global effort to preserve biodiversity. By protecting species like Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, we are contributing to a sustainable and resilient future for the planet and its inhabitants.

In addition to its ecological and cultural significance, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed also has potential medicinal uses. It has been found to contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it a potential candidate for the development of new drugs. However, any potential medicinal uses must be balanced against the need to protect the species and its habitat.

Furthermore, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is an example of the value of biodiversity and the importance of protecting rare and endangered species. Each species, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, plays a unique role in the ecosystem. Losing a species can have cascading effects on the entire ecosystem, and ultimately on human well-being.

Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is also a reminder of the fragility of island ecosystems. Island ecosystems are often characterized by high levels of endemism, which means that many species are found only on that particular island or archipelago. This makes them particularly vulnerable to habitat destruction, invasive species, and climate change. Protecting rare and endangered species like Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is essential for the long-term health and sustainability of island ecosystems.

In conclusion, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is a rare and protected species that has ecological, cultural, and potential medicinal value. Its conservation is important not only for the local environment but also for the broader global effort to preserve biodiversity. Protecting rare and endangered species like Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed is essential for the health and sustainability of ecosystems and human societies.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map