Crepis capillaris Crepis capillaris

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Rough Hawksbeard

Crepis biennis

  • Written also: Rough Hawk’s-beard
  • Family: Daisy Family – Compositae, subfamily Cichorioideae (formerly Chicory Family – Cichoriaceae)
  • Growing form: Biennial herb.
  • Height: 50–100 cm (20–40 in.). Stem wooden at base, upper part branched, abundantly leaved. Containing milky latex.
  • Flower: Flowers grouped into a capitulum 2.5–3 cm (1.0–1.2 in.) across. Single flower-like capitula surrounded by involucral bracts. Corolla golden yellow, strap-shaped, 5-toothed tip. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts in 2 rows, outer short, spreading, often different lengths, inner much longer, of even length, grey-hairy, black-green. Capitula borne in a corymbose cluster.
  • Leaves: In a basal rosette and alternate on stem. Rosette on ground, withers early. Lowest stem leaves stalked, upper stalkless, amplexicaul. Blade narrow-based, coarsely hairy, pinnately lobed, lobes tapered, arching towards base.
  • Fruit: Flat, glossy, ridged, 4–7.5 mm (0.16–0.3 in.) long achene, terminated by soft white unbranched hairs.
  • Habitat: Fallow fields, banks, roadsides, lawns, wasteland, railway embankments, harbours.
  • Flowering time: July–September.

The Hawksbeard family is diverse, containing everything from large perennials to small annual herbs. They have such a broad range of requirements regarding habitat that it’s impossible to meet all the Finnish species side by side: one likes dry rocks while another thrives in rich wetlands. Rough hawksbeard’s Finnish habitats are concentrated in the south and centre of the country, and there aren’t many of them. Rough hawksbeard arrived in Finland with people and complemented Finland’s original group of hawksbeards so recently that botanists have monitored the stages of the plant in the Finnish wild since the beginning. It is classified as an alien species, but it established itself quite some time ago: already in the middle of the 20th century the species was very common and abundant in some places. It has usually managed to hold onto its footholds, and new stands have appeared. Rough hawksbeard has not however been able to hold its own in the fast-changing city environment and has disappeared due to building work and other changes in land use.

Growing as much as half a metre (20 in.) high with abundant, exuberant yellow capitula, rough hawksbeard is a decorative addition to its more-or-less urban habitats. The lower leaves’ original featherlike lobes are a good identification marker to differentiate it from other capitulum-flowered plants that can look similar at first glance. The leaves are reminiscent of more well-known autumn hawkbit (Leontodon autumnalis) and dandelion (Taraxacum) leaves, but these plants have basal rosettes and their stem is a leafless scape.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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