If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

15 September, 2009

Autumnal Hawkbit (Leontodon autumnalis)

There are lots of flowers we call Dandelions and many, of course, are not! They may have yellow Dandelion flower heads and turn into Dandelion clocks but they are not Dandelions. The challenge is telling them apart.

I am not a botanist but by applying some basic principals identification of these tough species (thistles are another one) becomes a bit easier.

Firstly, some species are more common than others and this is a good starting point because you are, statistically, more likely to see a common species than a rare one. Then, time of year and habitat play a role.

This species, Autumnal Hawkbit is very common at this time of year and can be found in all sorts of habitat but it really loves a bit of rough ground or roadside verge. It is a tall plant, often three to four feet tall (so it can't be a Dandelion!). It also has stems that branch out with a single flower on each branch.

It is a scruffy, untidy flower that likes scruffy, untidy places. A true 'weed'.