kh854's picture

Lesser Hawkbit

Observed: 28th November 2009 By: kh854
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - current student
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Lesser hawkbit

Yellow dandelion type flowers, solitary heads which drooped slightly. Long grean leaves which spread out in a rosette shape, with scalloped edges and rounded tip. Found in abundance on the landward side of sand dunes.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Chris Metherell's picture

Leontodon saxatilis

In order successfully to identify these dandelion-like flowers on really needs to look at the key diagnostic features. Leaf-shape is a good rough and ready starting place but many species are fairly plastic and resort must be made to the fine detail. Hypochaeris can be ruled out by taking the flower apart (or just a little bit of it!) and seeing whether there are colourless scales within. No scales = no Cat's Ear. The stems of both Hypochaeris and Leontodon usually have one or more scale like bracts on them - and I don't see any on this, which is suspicious, but not fatal. Unfortunately there are no fruits which is one of the key identification points, but picking a flower and popping it i a glass of water for a few days will usually produce a clock whcih can then be compared to a description. I won't bore you with the details here! However, once one has it down to Leontodon, which I think this probably is, the next point to look for is the presence (or otherwise) of forked hairs on the leaves. No forked hairs = L. autumnalis (which usually has branched stems too but not always). If there are forked hairs then it's either L. hispidus - if the whole stem is pubescent, or L. saxatilis if it's glabrous or sparsely pubescent.

Chris Metherell
BSBI VC Recorder
North Northumberland