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Bristly Oxtongue

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Common near the coast of Dorset in late summer or autumn; a dandelion 'look-a-likes' with pimply leaves.


Bristly Oxtongue: the pimply dandelion

Post date: Friday, 6 January, 2017 - 21:10

If you are anywhere near the coast of Dorset in late summer or autumn then you will find a considerable amount of this rather untidy plant, the bristly oxtongue (Picris echioides). 

At first glance this might look like another of those hard to identify dandelion 'look-a-likes' but actually it is really easy to pick out because its leaves are prickly (a bit like a thistle) but the main feature is the presence of 'bumps', or pimples as one of my field guides describes it,all over the leaves, they look a bit like galls. This is a difficult to describe and illustrate feature but once you find the plant you will know what I mean, it is like no other. The flower head turns in to the classic dandelion clock when it is over and the same plant produces many stems each with flowers at various stages in the cycle. You will find new buds, full flowers and seed heads all on the same plant.
A scruffy plant yes, but these yellow complex flower heads are quite delightful and are a prime nectar source for insects late in the year, particularly for bees and hoverflies.

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Bristly Oxtongue
Scientific Name Picris echioides
Family Daisy family - Compositae
Status Locally common
Interest Level
Species Family Daisy Family - Compositae
Flower Colour Group Yellow
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
Preferred Environment
Look for The nodules on the bristly leaves. Near the coast.
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
BF: Fringes - roadsides, bare ground & wasteland Associated