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Northern Hawksbeard

Crepis mollis

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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, 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, 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:
60 centimetres tall
Grassland, meadows, mountains, roadsides.

Yellow, many petals
Yellow dandelion-like flowers.
The fruit is a pappus. It consists of a brown seed (achene) that is tipped pure white hairs. The achene has a ribbed surface and there are about 20 ribs in total.
A hairy perennial with green, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are very variable in shape and size. However, this species of Hawksbeard is different from most other UK species in that its leaves are always untoothed and they have smooth edges. The stems are strongly ridged and sometimes stained purple by the sun. Most UK specimens can be found growing in the North Pennines.
Other Names:
Soft Crepis, Soft Hawksbeard.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Crepis mollis is also known as Northern Hawksbeard or Soft Hawksbeard, is a species of perennial herb in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Northern Hemisphere, 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 less hairy than other Crepis species. 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.


Northern Hawksbeard, scientifically known as Crepis mollis, is a herbaceous flowering plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is a perennial plant that is native to Europe, but has also been introduced to North America and other parts of the world.

Northern Hawksbeard is known for its distinctive, bright yellow flowers that bloom in the summer months. The flowers have long, slender petals that extend outwards from a central disc, giving them the appearance of a miniature sunflower. The plant also has long, slender leaves that are slightly hairy to the touch.

One of the unique features of Northern Hawksbeard is its seed heads, which resemble a hawk's beak. These seed heads are elongated and narrow, with a pointed tip that gives them their distinctive shape. The seed heads contain many small, fluffy seeds that are dispersed by the wind.

Northern Hawksbeard is often found in grasslands, meadows, and open woodland areas. It is a hardy plant that can grow in a wide range of soil types and moisture levels, making it a common sight across its native range.

While Northern Hawksbeard is not typically cultivated for ornamental purposes, it does have a number of medicinal uses. The plant has been traditionally used to treat a range of ailments, including digestive issues, respiratory problems, and skin conditions. It is believed that the plant's high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds may be responsible for its therapeutic effects.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Northern Hawksbeard is also an important food source for a variety of wildlife, including bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. The plant's bright yellow flowers and abundant nectar make it an attractive feeding ground for these insects.

Northern Hawksbeard, Crepis mollis, is a plant with a long history of traditional use in European herbal medicine. Its roots have been used to alleviate digestive problems, and the leaves and flowers have been used to treat respiratory ailments, including coughs and asthma.

The plant is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, and is a good source of dietary fiber. It has been suggested that the plant may have potential as a natural remedy for high blood pressure and diabetes, although further research is needed to confirm these claims.

Northern Hawksbeard is a hardy and adaptable plant that can grow in a range of conditions. It is often used as a companion plant in gardens, as it can attract beneficial insects and pollinators while repelling pests. The plant is also known for its ability to tolerate drought and poor soil conditions, making it a popular choice for gardeners looking to create low-maintenance, sustainable gardens.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, Northern Hawksbeard has also been used for a variety of other purposes throughout history. In some cultures, the plant was believed to have protective properties, and was used to ward off evil spirits and negative energy. It was also used in traditional dyeing techniques to produce a range of yellow and green hues.

One of the interesting aspects of Northern Hawksbeard is its role as a pioneer plant. This means that it is often one of the first species to establish itself in disturbed or bare areas, such as along roadsides or in abandoned fields. Its long taproot allows it to access deep soil nutrients and moisture, making it a resilient plant that can survive in challenging environments.

As a pioneer plant, Northern Hawksbeard plays an important role in ecological succession, the process by which ecosystems recover and evolve after disturbance. By establishing itself and creating favorable growing conditions for other plant species, it helps to create a diverse and healthy ecosystem.

Another interesting feature of Northern Hawksbeard is its potential as a source of biofuels. Researchers have identified the plant as a promising candidate for producing biofuels due to its high oil content and rapid growth rate. By using Northern Hawksbeard as a source of biofuels, we could reduce our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels and help mitigate climate change.

However, it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the plant's potential as a biofuel crop and to ensure that its cultivation does not have negative impacts on ecosystems or food systems.

In conclusion, Northern Hawksbeard is a plant with a long and fascinating history, and a wide range of uses and potential benefits. Whether appreciated for its bright yellow flowers, traditional medicinal properties, ecological importance, or potential as a source of biofuels, it is a plant that holds great value and interest for anyone interested in plants and their role in our world.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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