Hypochaeris radicata L.

hairy cat's-ear

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Hairy cat's-ear is a non-native perennial weed from Eurasia, and somewhat invasive in North America. The genus is distinguished by having fruits that differ depending on where they occur on the flower head. Those on the inner part of the flower head have a narrow beak (stalk) between the seed and the pappus (tuft of branching hairs that aid in wind dispersal), while those on the outer edge lack a beak.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf type
leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower type in flower heads
the flower head has ray flowers only, meaning all of the individual flowers of the flower head have a strap-shaped ray, which may or may not have teeth at the very tip of the ray
Ray flower color
  • green to brown
  • yellow
Tuft or plume on fruit
at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
50–350 mm
Disk flower number
0
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bract cycle number
    there are three or more cycles of bracts
    Bract outer side hair type
    • the bracts are hairy, with simple hairs on their outer surface
    • the bracts are not hairy on their outer surface
    Bract outer side hairs
    • the bracts are hairy on their outer surfaces
    • the bracts are not hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract shape
    • the main bracts are lanceolate (widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip)
    • the main bracts are linear (long and very narrow)
    Disk flower color
    NA
    Disk flower lobe number
    NA
    Disk flower number
    0
    Disk flower proportions
    NA
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Disk flower shape
    NA
    Flower head platform
    the base has papery scales on it
    Flower head profile
    the disk is flat or nearly flat across the top
    Flower head shape
    • NA
    • the sides of the flower head are roughly parallel, like a cylinder
    Flower type in flower heads
    the flower head has ray flowers only, meaning all of the individual flowers of the flower head have a strap-shaped ray, which may or may not have teeth at the very tip of the ray
    Height of flower head base
    10–25 mm
    Ovary beak
    there is a beak on the ovary
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary has five or more corners in cross-section
    Ovary profile
    in profile, the ovary is another shape
    Ovary surface
    the ovary surface is textured with tiny points, bumps or wrinkles
    Ray flower color
    • green to brown
    • yellow
    Ray flowers
    • 11-15
    • 6-10
    Smaller bracts at base of bracts
    there is no smaller, outer cycle of bracts
    Width of flower head base
    5–20 mm
  • Fruits or seeds
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    8–17 mm
    Seed hair tuft details
    the pappus hairs have smaller hairs along their sides
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is milky and opaque, and may be white or colored
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant has one or more free-standing stems
    Plant lifespan
    the plant is perennial, it shows evidence of previous year's leaves, stems or stem bases
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    • the plant has a caudex (the root mass is firm and hardened at the top)
    • there are only slender roots on the plant
    • there is a thickened taproot on the plant
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Leaf arrangement
    basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf has a distinct petiole
    • the leaf has no petiole
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    • the base of the leaf blade is truncate (ends abruptly in a more or less straight line as though cut off)
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade length
    50–350 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • NA
    • the leaf blade is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Leaf blade width
    5–30 mm
    Leaf disposition
    the lower leaves are larger, toothier, and/or on longer stalks than the upper leaves
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Leaves on stem
    the flowering stem has no leaves above the base
    Stem internode hairs
    • the stem has hairs between the nodes
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Hypochaeris glabra:
leaf blades glabrous or puberulent, involucre 8–10 mm tall during anthesis, and rays relatively inconspicuous, not much exceeding the involucre and ca. 2 times as long as wide (vs. H. radicata, with leaf blades hispid, involucre 10–15 mm tall during anthesis, and rays evident, exceeding the involucre and ca. 4 times as long as wide).

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Hypochaeris

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Hypochaeris radicata L. E

hairy cat’s-ear. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Fields, road and trail edges, disturbed soil.