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Nordschitz-Leontodon hispidus.tif
Leontodon hispidus L.
Leontodon hispidus - kare seanupp.jpg
Seed-head of Leontodon hispidus
Scientific classification

  • Asterothrix Cass.
  • Dens-leonis Ség.
  • Apargia Scop.
  • Thrincia Roth.
  • Virea Adans.
  • Antodon Neck.
  • Colobium Roth
  • Crenamon Raf.
  • Baldingeria F.W.Schmidt
  • Thrincia Roth
  • Microderis DC.
  • Hemilepis Schltdl.

Leontodon is a genus of plants in the dandelion tribe within the sunflower family (Compositae), commonly known as hawkbits.

Their English name derives from the mediaeval belief that hawks ate the plant to improve their eyesight. Although originally only native to Eurasia and North Africa, some species have since become established in other countries, including the United States[2] and New Zealand.[3]

Recent research has shown that the genus Leontodon in the traditional delimitation is polyphyletic. Therefore, the former Leontodon subgenus Oporinia was raised to generic level.[4] According to the nomenclatural rules the name Scorzoneroides has priority at generic level and therefore, the members of Leontodon subgenus Oporinia were transferred to the re-erected genus Scorzoneroides.[5]


Seeds of Leontodon species are an important food source for certain bird species.[6]


In Crete, the species Leontodon tuberosus which is called γλυκοβύζια (glykovyzia), γλυκοράδικα (glykoradika) or βυζάκια (vyzakia) has its roots eaten raw and its leaves eaten steamed.[7]

Secondary metabolites[edit]

The genus Leontodon s.str. (i.e. excluding the members of the resurrected genus Scorzoneroides) is a rich source of hypocretenolides, unique guaiane type sesquiterpene lactones with a 12,5-lactone ring instead of the usual 12,6 lactone ring.[8]

Phenolics found in Leontodon include luteolin type flavonoids and caffeoyl quinic acid derivatives such as chlorogenic acid and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid. Moreover, Leontodon species contain the caffeoyl tartaric acid derivatives caffeoyl tartaric acid and cichoric acid.[9][10]


accepted species[1]

Further reading[edit]

  • Euro+Med Plantbase
  • Battandier, J. A.; L. Trabut (1902). Flore de l'Algérie et de la Tunisie. Alger.
  • Blatter, E. (1921). Flora Arabica II: Leguminosae-Compositae. Calcutta.
  • Boulos, L. (2002). Flora of Egypt. Cairo.
  • Danin, A. (2004). Distribution atlas of plants in the Flora Palaestina area. Jerusalem.
  • Davis, P. (1975). Flora of Turkey Vol. 5. Edinburgh.
  • Finch, R. A.; P. D. Sell (1976). "Leontodon L.". In Tutin, T. G.; Heywood, V. H.; Burges, N. A.; Moore, D. M.; Valentine, D. H.; Walters S. M.; Webb D. A. (eds.). Flora Europaea. 4. Cambridge.
  • Jafri, S.M.H.; A. El-Gadi (1983). Flora of Libya. Tripoli.
  • Jahandiez, E.; R. Maire (1934). Catalogue des plantes du Maroc. 3. Alger.
  • Moutérde, P. (1983). Nouvelle flore du Liban et de la Syrie. Beyrouth.
  • Pittoni, H. (1977). "Leontodon". In K. H. Rechinger (ed.). Flora Iranica. 122. Graz.
  • Quézel, P.; S. Santa (1963). Nouvelle flore de l'Algérie et des régions désertiques méridionales. Paris.
  • Rechinger, K. H. (1964). Flora of lowland Iraq. Weinheim.
  • Vassilev, V. N. (2000). Leontodon. In Bobrov, E. G. & Tzevelev, N. N. Flora of the USSR 29: Compositae, Cichorieae, pages 204-218. Enfield.
  • Widder, F.J. (1975). "Die Gliederung der Gattung Leontodon". Phyton (Horn, Austria). 17: 23–29. ISSN 0079-2047.
  • Zidorn, C. (2012). "Leontodon and Scorzoneroides (Asteraceae, Cichorieae) in Italy". Plant Biosystems. Taylor & Francis. 146 (Suppl. 1): 41–51. doi:10.1080/11263504.2012.710272. ISSN 1126-3504.
  • Zohary, M. (1978). Flora Palaestina Vol. 3. Jerusalem.


  1. ^ a b c Flann, C. (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist Archived 2014-12-13 at Archive.today
  2. ^ "52. Leontodon Linnaeus", Flora of North America
  3. ^ "LEONTODON L.", Flora of New Zealand
  4. ^ Rosabelle Samuel; Walter Gutermann; Tod F. Stuessy; Claudete F. Ruas; Hans-Walter Lack; Karin Tremetsberger; Salvador Talavera; Barbara Hermanowski; Friedrich Ehrendorfer (2006), "Molecular phylogenetics reveals Leontodon (Asteraceae, Lactuceae) to be diphyletic", American Journal of Botany, 93: 1193–1205, doi:10.3732/ajb.93.8.1193, PMID 21642184
  5. ^ Greuter, W.; Gutermann, W. & Talavera, S. (2006), "A preliminary conspectus of Scorzoneroides (Compositae, Cichorieae) with validation of the required new names" (PDF), Willdenowia, 36: 689–692, doi:10.3372/wi.36.36204, ISSN 0511-9618, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-06
  6. ^ D. L. Buckingham; W. J. Peach (2005). "The influence of livestock management on habitat quality for farmland birds". Animal Science. 81: 199–203. doi:10.1079/asc50700199.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Kleonikos G. Stavridakis; Κλεόνικος Γ. Σταυριδάκης (2006). Wild edible plants of Crete - Η Άγρια βρώσιμη χλωρίδα της Κρήτης. Rethymnon Crete. ISBN 960-631-179-1.
  8. ^ Zidorn, C. (2008). "Sesquiterpene lactones and their precursors as chemosystematic markers in the tribe Cichorieae of the Asteraceae". Phytochemistry. 69: 2270–2296. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2008.06.013. ISSN 0031-9422. PMID 18715600.
  9. ^ Zidorn, C.; Stuppner, H. (2001). "Evaluation of chemosystematic characters in the genus Leontodon". Taxon (IAPT, Vienna). 50: 115–133. doi:10.2307/1224515. ISSN 0040-0262.
  10. ^ Sareedenchai, V.; Zidorn, C. (2010). "Flavonoids as chemosystematic markers in the tribe Cichorieae of the Asteraceae". Biochemical Systematics and Ecology (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). 38: 935–957. doi:10.1016/j.bse.2009.09.006. ISSN 0305-1978.