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Very common on short turffed grassy areas usually on chalky soils.



Mouse-ear-hawkweed: just another dandelion

Post date: Tuesday, 1 November, 2016 - 21:54

Just another dandelion? No, it is mouse-ear-hawkweed (Pilosella officinarum). There may seem countless flowers we call dandelions but are not but actually it is not that many and whilst telling them apart can be tricky there are often obvious clues if you look.

In this case, although perhaps similar in height to a dandelion, mouse-ear-hawkweed is a more delicate plant that the sturdy dandelion. The flower is more of a lemon yellow than the strong golden yellow of the dandelion but the key is to look at the underside of the flower head and if there are reddish streaks then it is mouse-ear-hawkweed. There are other differences too, the leaves are not serrated like those of the dandelion and the stem is hairy and not smooth like the dandelion. So you see they are not alike at all!

Flowering from May until October this is a species that likes short grassy areas, usually on poor lime soils; the dandelion likes richer, more neutral soil.  So no excuses, you can now tell the two apart!


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 Mouse-ear-hawkweed
Scientific Name Pilosella officinarum
Family Daisy family - Compositae
Status Common
Interest Level
Species Family Daisy Family - Compositae
Flower Colour Group Yellow
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
Preferred Environment
Look for Short plant with a pale yellow dandelion-like flower and with red stripes on the back of the flower head
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
H2: Dry Heath/Acid Grassland Mosaic Associated
GC: Calcareous Grassland Associated