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Smooth Cat's-ear

Hypochaeris glabra

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 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:
30 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, heathland, sand dunes, wasteland.

Yellow, many petals
Solitary, dandelion-like yellow flowers, only opening in the sun. The flowers measure between 5 and 15mm across. Pollinated by bees and flies.
The fruit is an achene.
A sprawling annual plant with smooth, almost hairless leaves.
Other Names:
Smooth Hawksbeard.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Hypochaeris glabra, also known as smooth cat's ear or smooth hawksbeard, is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and has been introduced to other parts of the world as a weed. The plant is known for its small, yellow flowers and hairy leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including fields, gardens, and waste areas. Hypochaeris glabra is a herbaceous plant that can grow up to 60 cm in height. It is commonly found in disturbed areas and is considered an invasive weed in some areas. The plant is toxic to livestock, and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. It is also known to cause skin irritation in some people.


Smooth Cat's-ear (Hypochaeris glabra) is a common wildflower that can be found throughout North America and Europe. This plant is known for its small, yellow flowers that bloom from May to September, and its soft, fuzzy leaves that resemble the ears of a cat.

Smooth Cat's-ear is a member of the Asteraceae family, which includes many other familiar wildflowers such as dandelions, sunflowers, and asters. The plant grows to be about 10-30 cm tall, with a rosette of leaves at the base of the stem and small flowers that grow in clusters at the top.

One of the unique features of Smooth Cat's-ear is its leaves, which are covered in short, fine hairs that give them a soft and velvety texture. The leaves are also slightly serrated along the edges, adding to their distinctive appearance.

In addition to its attractive flowers and leaves, Smooth Cat's-ear is also known for its hardiness and versatility. The plant is able to grow in a variety of soil types and conditions, making it a popular choice for landscaping and wildflower gardens. It can also be found growing in disturbed areas, such as along roadsides and in abandoned lots.

Despite its prevalence and adaptability, Smooth Cat's-ear is often considered a weed by gardeners and farmers. The plant produces a large number of seeds that are easily spread by the wind, and it can quickly take over gardens and crops if left unchecked. However, many people appreciate its attractive appearance and its role as a source of food and habitat for wildlife.

Overall, Smooth Cat's-ear is a common wildflower that is well-known for its distinctive appearance and versatility. Whether you consider it a weed or a wildflower, it is an important part of the natural landscape and an important source of food and habitat for wildlife.

Smooth Cat's-ear is also a great choice for those looking to attract pollinators to their gardens. Its bright yellow flowers are a popular source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other insects, making it an important part of the ecosystem. The plant's versatility and hardiness also make it a good choice for wildflower gardens, as it can provide a colorful and attractive display with little maintenance required.

In addition to its ornamental value, Smooth Cat's-ear is also used for medicinal purposes. The plant is rich in vitamins and minerals, and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, skin irritations, and coughs and colds. However, it is important to note that the plant can also be toxic in large quantities, and should be used with caution.

Smooth Cat's-ear is a versatile and hardy wildflower that can be found throughout North America and Europe. With its distinctive appearance, bright yellow flowers, and versatility, it is a great choice for those looking to attract pollinators to their gardens or add a pop of color to their landscaping. However, it is important to be mindful of its potential to spread and take over, and to use caution when using the plant for medicinal purposes.

Despite its potential drawbacks, Smooth Cat's-ear remains a popular wildflower that is appreciated by many people for its beauty and versatility. Whether it's growing in a garden, along a roadside, or in a natural area, this plant is a valuable part of the ecosystem and provides important benefits to wildlife and the environment.

It's also worth noting that there are many other species of cat's-ear, including hairy cat's-ear, dandelion-leaved cat's-ear, and many others, each with their own unique features and benefits. This further highlights the importance and diversity of this family of wildflowers, and the role they play in our natural world.

In conclusion, Smooth Cat's-ear is a fascinating and valuable wildflower that is well worth exploring and appreciating. Whether you're a seasoned naturalist or simply enjoy the beauty of wildflowers, this plant is a great example of the diversity and importance of our native flora. So next time you see a patch of Smooth Cat's-ear growing in your area, take a moment to appreciate its unique and attractive features, and the important role it plays in our ecosystem.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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