Peachysteve's picture

Autumn Hawkbit

Observed: 30th July 2012 By: PeachystevePeachysteve’s reputation in PlantsPeachysteve’s reputation in PlantsPeachysteve’s reputation in PlantsPeachysteve’s reputation in PlantsPeachysteve’s reputation in Plants

Purple tipped bracts. Wavy edged leaves. Slightly swollen below flower head.I really want to be able to identify this kind of plant so please help me by explaining why it is or isn't Cat's Ear.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Autumn Hawkbit (Scorzoneroides autumnalis) interacts


lavateraguy's picture


As Graeme says, in the field you can dissect the capitulum to find the receptacular scales of Hypochaeris radicata. But I've never done that, having learnt the jizz of the two plants before learning of this key character.

I didn't find it easy to identify from your photographs, because there wasn't a clear view of the basal rosette. (Hypochaeris radicata and Scorzoneroides autumnalis are common enough that if the foliage is buried in other vegetation I don't bother trying to identify them.)

Both plants have leafless, multiheaded, scapes. That's enough to cut the scope down to Hypochaeris, Leontodon, Scorzoneroides, Arnoseris (extinct in the UK, but still in some books), Crepis praemorsa and Pilosella.

The leaves are probably sufficient to distinguish Hypochaeris, Leontodon and Scorzoneroides from Crepis and Pilosella, but the scales on the scape cuts the scope (you can see one at the edge of your first photo) down to Hypochaeris and Scorzoneroides.

Putting jizz into words can be difficult - but the leaves of Scorzoneroides autumnalis look like a narrow-leaved dandelion, while those of Hypochaeris radicata are more like lawn daises (but lobed).


Peachysteve's picture

Thanks for taking the time to

Thanks for taking the time to explain.
I'm still not able to see why it isn't Cat's ear as the bracts, scales and leaves all look a good match to me but hopefully as I observe more the differences will become clearer to me.

lavateraguy's picture

Bracts and stem scales don't

Bracts and stem scales don't seem to be sufficient to distinguish the two, and the view of leaves isn't clear enough for even an expert (Cicuta58) to be sure.

You've seen the leaves in life, rather than the just the rather busy photograph, so on that point you have the advantage on us.

My last reply gave you a link to an undoubted Hypochaeris (the second link).

This ( is a clear Scorzoneroides

Peachysteve's picture

Thanks again. I will look

Thanks again.
I will look again later today and see if I can get a better shot of the basal leaves.

Peachysteve's picture

Better image of leaves

I've added another image of the basal leaves.
I wasn't able to find the exact same specimen but I examined a number which I found in the same location and they all had the same deeply pinnate lobes.
This seems to confirm the Autumn Hawkbit