The neat rosettes of this typical lawn plant give rise to beautiful pale lemon-yellow dandelion-like flowers which later mature to delicate "clocks". The outer florets are often striped red on the underside. The plant has a rosette of leaves which have dense white felt on the underside. They spread vegetatively by numerous creeping stolons with small leaves and can form dense mats. This species is invasive where introduced in North America and New Zealand.1.  
 
The species was first described as “yealowe Mouseare” by William Turner in his 1548 book “The Names of Herbes”.2.  Culpeper considered the hawkweeds as a whole good for “the biting of venomous serpents and the stinging of the scorpion”.3.  It seems to lack many local names apart from fellon-herb in Cornwall . Mouse-ear hawkweed has had a variety of medicinal uses especially as cough medicine and it has antibiotic properties. Apparently the boiled roots tasted so vile that children were relieved to get better.4.
 
There are many taller hawkweeds and also hawkbits and hawk’s-beards – supposedly named for helping eyesight to be sharp as a hawk’s. Mouse-ear hawkweed is distinctive because of its single stemmed flowers.
 
 
 
Mouse-ear hawkweed  Pilosella officinarum 
 
 
FamilyAsteraceae, Daisy family
Perennial – up to 20 cm tall, c. 30 cm spread
Flowering – May to August
Soils –  Neutral, alkaline to acidic, dry, low nutrients
Sun  – Full sun
 
A closely related introduced newcomer from Europe is Pilosella aurantiaca  commonly known as fox and cubs.  It is a pretty but very invasive plant in lawns and elsewhere in the garden and considered a pest in North America, Australia and New Zealand.5. 
References
 
1.  CABI datasheet
 
2.  Pearman, D. 2017. The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain and Ireland, A compilation of the first records for 1670 species and aggregates, covering Great Britain, Ireland, The Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland. P.306
 
3. Culpeper’s Complete Herbal ed. Steven Foster (2019) Sterling New York p 112
 
4. Vickery, R. 2019. Vickery’s Folk Flora, An A to Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. London. p461
 
5. Biological Records Centre database 
 
6. See wikipedia article  
 
Page written by Camilla Lambrick, compiled by Steve Head  
 
Very few insects seem to eat this plant, presumably because of its considerable acrid chemical armoury, but one is the quite common chrysomelid beetle Cryptocephalus aureolus.5. (left)
 
Mouse-ear hawkweed  Pilosella officinarum  
 
 
FamilyAsteraceae, Daisy family
Perennial – up to 20 cm tall, c. 30 cm spread
Flowering – May to August
Soils –  Neutral, alkaline to acidic, dry, low nutrients
Sun  – Full sun
 
 
The neat rosettes of this typical lawn plant give rise to beautiful pale lemon-yellow dandelion-like flowers which later mature to delicate "clocks". The outer florets are often striped red on the underside. The plant has a rosette of leaves which have dense white felt on the underside. They spread vegetatively by numerous creeping stolons with small leaves and can form dense mats. This species is invasive where introduced in North America and New Zealand.1.  
 
The species was first described as “yealowe Mouseare” by William Turner in his 1548 book “The Names of Herbes”.2.  Culpeper considered the hawkweeds as a whole good for “the biting of venomous serpents and the stinging of the scorpion”.3.  It seems to lack many local names apart from fellon-herb in Cornwall . Mouse-ear hawkweed has had a variety of medicinal uses especially as cough medicine and it has antibiotic properties. Apparently the boiled roots tasted so vile that children were relieved to get better.4.
 
There are many taller hawkweeds and also hawkbits and hawk’s-beards – supposedly named for helping eyesight to be sharp as a hawk’s. Mouse-ear hawkweed is distinctive because of its single stemmed flowers.
 
 
 
 
Very few insects seem to eat this plant, presumably because of its considerable acrid chemical armoury, but one is the quite common chrysomelid beetle Cryptocephalus aureolus.5. (left)
 
A closely related introduced newcomer from Europe is Pilosella aurantiaca  commonly known as fox and cubs.  It is a pretty but very invasive plant in lawns and elsewhere in the garden and considered a pest in North America, Australia and New Zealand.5. 
References
 
1.  CABI datasheet
 
2.  Pearman, D. 2017. The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain and Ireland, A compilation of the first records for 1670 species and aggregates, covering Great Britain, Ireland, The Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland. P.306
 
3. Culpeper’s Complete Herbal ed. Steven Foster (2019) Sterling New York p 112
 
4. Vickery, R. 2019. Vickery’s Folk Flora, An A to Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. London. p461
 
5. Biological Records Centre database 
 
6. See wikipedia article  
 
Page written by Camilla Lambrick, compiled by Steve Head 
       Garden Wildplants
             Garden Wildplants