T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Hypochoeris radicata (Common Catsear)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Hypochoeris
Species: H. radicata
Binomial name: Hypochoeris radicata
Common name: Catsear, flatweed, cat's ear or false dandelion

Hypochoeris radicata, is a perennial, low-lying edible herb often found in lawns, pastures, river-beds, oad-sides and waste ground. The plant is native to Europe, but has also been introduced to New Zealand and is one of the most widely distributed weed.
The leaves, which may grow up to eight inches, are lobed and covered in fine hairs, forming a low-lying rosette around a central taproot. 
Stems are leafless and branched and can be up to 60cm tal. The stems carry bright yellow flower heads, and when mature these form seeds attached to windborne "parachutes". All parts of the plant exude a milky sap when cut.
The fresh leaves seem also to be edible and can be added to salads. 

The conspicuous yellow flowers of the Catsear (Hypochaeris radicata) on a New Plymouth rural road.






The hairy leaves of Hypochoeris radicata