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Rough Hawkbit

Leontodon hispidus

  • Name also: Bristly Hawkbit
  • Family: Daisy Family – Compositaea, subfamily Cichorioideae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb.
  • Height: 10–40 cm (4–16 in.). Stem leafless, unbranched with a single capitulum, usually densely covered with star-shaped hairs (sometimes almost or completely glabrous).
  • Flower: Flowers 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in.) wide, single flower-like capitula surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitulum’s ray-florets bright yellow (outermost red-streaked), tongue-like, 5-toothed at tip. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts overlapping, hairy, green. Capitula solitary, terminating scape. Scape thickening only slightly at most. Buds nodding.
  • Leaves: In basal rosette. Blade narrowly elliptic, pinnately lobed–large-toothed, lobes wide.
  • Fruit: Achene, crowned by a pappus of yellowish-white feathery hairs.
  • Habitat: Rich meadows, meadows, natural pastures, old slash-and-burn areas, roadsides.
  • Flowering time: June–July.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened.

Rough hawkbit is not nearly as common in Finland as its relative autumn hawkbit (Scorzoneroides autumnalis). The species is most likely to be found in old slash-and-burn areas, although it has declined also in these areas due to conifer forestation. Rough hawkbit is so intertwined with traditional biotopes that it is estimated that it arrived in Finland along with slash-and-burn culture from the east around 4,000 years ago. Rough hawkbit thrives best in eastern Finland’s best pasture meadows and the last slash-and-burn sites. In western Finland it’s more casual or remains in very small areas and is becoming increasingly rare as its habitats get overcrowded. The art has sometimes escaped to roadsides and banks away from the increasing shade.

Finland’s 2 hawkbit species are most easily differentiated by autumn hawkbit’s branched scape and narrow leaves. Hawkbits exhibit a lot of variability within given species, but this doesn’t make it any more difficult to differentiate between the species. In Finland an almost or completely glabrous form of rough hawkbit exists in some places. Differences in hairiness seem to be the product of just a few genes, so a deviating variety has not been described as a new variety or subspecies. In practice, hawkbits always require cross-pollination and different varieties freely mix with each other. The situation of closely related dandelions and hawkeeds is altogether different: the seeds are produced apomictically, without fertilization so, as descendants are clones of the mother plant, all manner of small deviations remain. Rough hawkbit can also be mistaken for dandelion, but eventually when their seeds ripen the difference is clear: dandelion’s achene’s parachute-like flying hairs (pappus) are stalked and hairs are simple, unbranched, but hawkbit seeds are supported by a clump of stemless featherlike hairs.

Other species from the same family

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