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Common Cat's-ear

Hypochaeris radicata

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 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, 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:
50 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, lawns, wasteland.

Yellow, many petals
Yellow dandelion-like solitary flowers, up to 4cm. Underside has green-greyish florets. Leafless, unbranched flower stalk contains scale-like bracts at the top. Flowers similar-looking to Autum Hawkbit except they are slightly larger and Autumn Hawkbit does not have the scale-like bracts at the top of the stem.
Other Names:
Australian Cape Weed, California Dandelion, Coast Dandelion, Common Hawksbeard, Deep-rooted Cat's-ear, False Dandelion, Flatweed, Frogbit, Gosmore, Hairy Cat's-ear, Hairy Wild Lettuce, Long-rooted Cat's-ear, Rooted Cat's-ear, Spotted Cat's-ear, Wet-the-bed.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Hypochaeris radicata, also known as common cat's ear or common 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 radicata 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.


Common Cat's-ear (Hypochaeris radicata) is a weed commonly found in gardens, lawns, and other disturbed areas in many parts of the world. This species is known for its bright yellow flowers and distinctive, furry leaves that resemble a cat's ear. Despite its reputation as a weed, it is a hardy and resilient plant that can be difficult to remove from the garden.

The Common Cat's-ear is native to Europe, but it has been introduced to many other parts of the world and has become naturalized in many places. It is a member of the daisy family, and it produces yellow flowers that bloom from spring to fall. The plant can grow to be about 50 cm tall and has a rosette of leaves at its base. The leaves are usually hairy and covered in soft white hairs, giving them the appearance of a cat's ear.

This weed can quickly spread and take over areas of a lawn or garden. It is a prolific seed producer, and the seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to 10 years. It also has deep roots that can make it difficult to remove. This, combined with its ability to quickly spread, makes it a challenging plant to control.

Despite its reputation as a weed, the Common Cat's-ear is known to have some benefits. It is an important food source for many species of bees and other pollinators, and it is also a source of nectar for many species of butterflies. Additionally, it is often used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including skin conditions and digestive problems.

If you have Common Cat's-ear growing in your garden, there are several methods you can use to control it. One option is to manually remove the plant and its roots, but this can be a time-consuming process. Another option is to use a herbicide, but this may not be a safe option for those who want to avoid using chemicals in their garden. Alternatively, you can try to outcompete the weed by planting other plants in the area that will shade it and prevent it from getting the light it needs to grow.

Common Cat's-ear is a weed that is commonly found in gardens, lawns, and other disturbed areas. It is a hardy and resilient plant that is known for its yellow flowers and distinctive, furry leaves. While it can be challenging to control, it is also an important food source for pollinators and has many uses in traditional medicine. If you have Common Cat's-ear growing in your garden, there are several methods you can use to control it, including manual removal, herbicides, or planting other plants that will outcompete it.

Despite its reputation as a weed, Common Cat's-ear has many other interesting features. One of the most notable is its adaptation to changing environments. It is known for its ability to quickly colonize disturbed areas, making it an important part of the ecosystem in many regions. This weed can also be found in a variety of habitats, from grasslands and meadows to rocky slopes and forests.

Another interesting feature of Common Cat's-ear is its tolerance to environmental stress. This plant can withstand drought and heavy rainfall, making it a resilient species that is well-suited to many regions. Additionally, it is resistant to many herbicides, making it a challenge for gardeners who want to control it.

Despite its many benefits, Common Cat's-ear is also known to have some negative effects. For example, it can compete with other plants for resources, making it difficult for other species to establish in areas where it is present. Additionally, its deep roots can also make it difficult to cultivate other plants in areas where it is growing.

Finally, Common Cat's-ear is an important species for scientific research. Scientists have studied its ecology, genetics, and other aspects of its biology to better understand its role in the ecosystem. This research has helped to shed light on the biology of this plant and its relationship with other species in the environment.

Common Cat's-ear is a fascinating weed with many interesting features. It is a resilient plant that can quickly colonize disturbed areas and withstand environmental stress. While it can have negative effects on other species, it is also an important food source for pollinators and has many uses in traditional medicine. With its deep roots and tolerance to environmental stress, this weed is a valuable species for scientific research and a challenge for gardeners.

Common Cat's-ear is also known for its unique appearance. Its yellow flowers and furry leaves make it easily recognizable in gardens and lawns. Additionally, the leaves of this plant are often covered in soft white hairs, making them feel velvety to the touch. This soft texture, combined with its distinctive shape, makes Common Cat's-ear a fascinating plant to observe and study.

In addition to its ornamental value, Common Cat's-ear is also edible. The leaves and stems of this plant can be consumed raw or cooked, and they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. In some cultures, it is also used as a medicinal herb to treat various ailments, including skin conditions and digestive problems.

However, it's important to note that Common Cat's-ear is a weed and may contain harmful chemicals or pollutants. Therefore, it is not recommended to consume it unless it is grown in a safe and controlled environment.

In conclusion, Common Cat's-ear is a hardy and versatile weed that is widely distributed across the world. Its bright yellow flowers, distinctive leaves, and unique texture make it an interesting plant to observe and study. Although it is considered a weed by many gardeners, it is also an important food source for pollinators and has many uses in traditional medicine. If you have Common Cat's-ear growing in your garden, it is an opportunity to appreciate its unique features and learn more about its role in the ecosystem.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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