Hieracium pilosella

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Hieracium pilosella
Hieracium pilosella plant.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Hieracium
Species: H. pilosella
Binomial name
Hieracium pilosella
Synonyms [1]
  • Hieracium pilosella L.
  • Hieracium pseudoincanum t.infr.
  • Hieracium bauhinii Schult.t.infr.
  • Pilosella bauhinii (Schult.) Arv.-Touv.
  • Hieracium adenocladum (Rehmann) Czerep.
  • Hieracium agathanthum (Rehmann) Czerep.
  • Hieracium arvorum (Nägeli & Peter) Pugsley
  • Hieracium callicymum (Rehmann) Üksip
  • Hieracium cimpiense Prodán
  • Hieracium cryptomastix (Nägeli & Peter) Freyn
  • Hieracium cymanthodes (Koslovsky & Zahn) Üksip
  • Hieracium cymanthum (Nägeli & Peter) Üksip
  • Hieracium empodistum (Nägeli & Peter) Üksip
  • Hieracium erythrophylloides (Zahn) Czerep.
  • Hieracium fastigiatum (Nägeli & Peter) Üksip
  • Hieracium georgieffianum Zahn
  • Hieracium hispidissimum (Nägeli & Peter) Üksip
  • Hieracium ingricum (Nägeli & Peter) Üksip
  • Hieracium insolens Norrl.
  • Hieracium limenyense (Zahn) Czerep.
  • Hieracium macrum (Nägeli & Peter) Üksip
  • Hieracium melachaetum Tausch
  • Hieracium mnoocladum (Rehmann) Czerep.
  • Hieracium obscuribracteum (Nägeli & Peter) Üksip
  • Hieracium parvistolonum (Nägeli & Peter) Üksip
  • Hieracium plicatulum Üksip
  • Hieracium polyanthemum (Nägeli & Peter) Czerep.
  • Hieracium pseudosparsum (Zahn) Czerep.
  • Hieracium pseudothaumasium (Zahn) Üksip
  • Hieracium radiocaule Tausch
  • Hieracium rojowskii (Rehmann) Üksip
  • Hieracium sedutrix (Rehmann) Üksip
  • Hieracium spraguei Pugsley
  • Hieracium stauropolitanum Üksip
  • Hieracium thaumasioides (Peter) J. Weiss
  • Hieracium thaumasium (Peter) J. Weiss
  • Hieracium varatinense Woł.
  • Hieracium viscidulum (Tausch) Üksip
  • Pilosella adenoclada (Rehmann) Schljakov
  • Pilosella agathantha (Rehmann) Schljakov
  • Pilosella arvorum (Nägeli & Peter) Schljakov
  • Pilosella botrychodes Schljakov
  • Pilosella callicyma (Rehmann) Schljakov
  • Pilosella chaunocyma (Rehmann) Schljakov
  • Pilosella cryptomastix (Nägeli & Peter) Soják
  • Pilosella cymantha (Nägeli & Peter) Schljakov
  • Pilosella cymanthodes (Koslovsky & Zahn) Sennikov
  • Pilosella dobromilensis (Rehmann) Schljakov
  • Pilosella empodista (Nägeli & Peter) Schljakov
  • Pilosella erythriophylla (Vuk.) Soják
  • Pilosella erythrophylloides (Zahn) Schljakov
  • Pilosella fastigiata (Nägeli & Peter) Schljakov
  • Pilosella georgieffiana (Zahn) Soják
  • Pilosella hispidissima (Nägeli & Peter) Schljakov
  • Pilosella ingrica (Nägeli & Peter) Schljakov
  • Pilosella insolens (Norrl.) Schljakov
  • Pilosella limenyensis (Zahn) Schljakov
  • Pilosella melachaeta (Tausch) Schljakov
  • Pilosella mnooclada (Rehmann) Schljakov
  • Pilosella obscuribractea (Nägeli & Peter) Schljakov
  • Pilosella officinarum (L.) F.W.Schultz & Sch.Bip.
  • Pilosella parvistolona (Nägeli & Peter) Schljakov
  • Pilosella plicatula (Üksip) Schljakov
  • Pilosella polyanthema (Nägeli & Peter) Schljakov
  • Pilosella pseudosparsa (Zahn) Schljakov
  • Pilosella pseudothaumasia (Zahn) Schljakov
  • Pilosella rojowskii (Rehmann) Schljakov
  • Pilosella sedutrix (Rehmann) Schljakov
  • Pilosella thaumasia (Peter) Dostál
  • Pilosella thaumasioides (Peter) Schljakov
  • Pilosella varatinensis (Woł.) Schljakov
  • Pilosella viscidula (Tausch) Schljakov

Hieracium pilosella (syn. Pilosella officinarum), known as mouse-ear hawkweed,[2] is a yellow-flowered species of flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae, native to Europe and northern Asia. It produces single, lemon-coloured inflorescences. It is an allelopathic plant. Like most hawkweed species, it is highly variable and is a member of a species complex of several dozens of subspecies and hundreds of varieties and forms.


It is a hispid (hairy) perennial plant, with a basal rosette of leaves. The whole plant, with the exception of the flower parts, is covered in glandular hairs, usually whitish, sometimes reddish on the stem. The rosette leaves are entire, acute to blunt, and range from 1–12 centimetres (0.39–4.72 in) long and 0.5–2 centimetres (0.20–0.79 in) broad. Their underside is tomentose (covered with hair). The flowering stem (scape) is generally between 5–50 centimetres (2.0–19.7 in) tall, and sprouts from the centre of the basal rosette. The flowerheads are borne singly on the scape and are a pale lemon-yellow colour, with the outermost ligules having a reddish underside. It flowers from May until August and the flowers are visited by various groups of insects, especially flies.[3]

The plant favours dry, sunny areas. It grows well on sandy and similarly less fertile ground types. It produces stolons which generate a new rosette at their extremity, each rosette has the possibility of developing into a new clone forming dense mats in open space. It also propagates by seeds.


It is a known allelopathic plant, whose roots secrete several substances inhibiting root growth,[4] including its own. It can be controlled through rotation with clover and grasses where possible.[4]

Recent research claims that Hieracium pilosella exhibits an atavism by the reemergence of sexual reproduction.[5]

Similar species[edit]

Shetland mouse-ear hawkweed (Pilosella flagellaris subsp. bicapitata) is similar, but has two flowers per leaf stalk. It is found in the Shetland Islands only, on rocky coastal grassland. It flowers from May to August.[6]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Mouse-ear hawkweed has become a common introduced invasive species in North America (where it is found in southern Canada and both north-east and north-west United States), and New Zealand. It is a level C noxious weed in the United States (with higher levels in the states of Washington and Oregon), and a weed in Quebec. It does not have special designations in other locations of Canada. It is known to be strongly invasive in New Zealand's tussock fields, where there are no native species of hawkweed, and biological control measures are being undertaken to control it and other hawkweed species.

Joseph Pitton de Tournefort mentions that blades covered in this plant's juices were believed to cut through stone as easily as through wood.[7]

Medicinal uses[edit]

The mouse-ear hawkweed contains umbelliferone, a compound similar to coumarin and a known antibiotic against brucellosis,[8] as well as a frequent active compound in sunscreen lotions. The plant is also a potent diuretic.


  1. ^ Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem (June 5, 2007). "Details for: Pilosella piloselloides". The Euro+Med Plantbase. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem. Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  2. ^ "Hieracium pilosella". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 31 January 2016. 
  3. ^ Van Der Kooi, C. J.; Pen, I.; Staal, M.; Stavenga, D. G.; Elzenga, J. T. M. (2015). "Competition for pollinators and intra-communal spectral dissimilarity of flowers" (PDF). Plant Biology. doi:10.1111/plb.12328. 
  4. ^ a b Carol Piening (1988-08-29). "Element Stewardship Abstract for Hieracium Pilosella". The Global Invasive Species Initiative. Archived from the original on 2006-09-18. Retrieved 2006-11-17. 
  5. ^ Science News, vol. 171, p. 302
  6. ^ Rose, Francis (2006). The Wild Flower Key. Frederick Warne & Co. pp. 480–481. ISBN 978-0-7232-5175-0. 
  7. ^ Hieracium pilosella in the online Flore Laurentienne
  8. ^ Bishop, G. F.; A. J. Davy (1994). "Hieracium pilosella L. (Pilosella officinarum F. Schultz & Schultz-Bip.)". Journal of Ecology. 82 (1): 195–210. JSTOR 2261400. 

External links[edit]