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!

01 November, 2016

Mouse-ear-hawkweed: just another dandelion

Just another dandelion? No, it is mouse-ear-hawkweed (Pilosella officinarum). There may seem countless flowers we call dandelions but are not but actually it is not that many and whilst telling them apart can be tricky there are often obvious clues if you look.
In this case, although perhaps similar in height to a dandelion, mouse-ear-hawkweed is a more delicate plant that the sturdy dandelion. The flower is more of a lemon yellow than the strong golden yellow of the dandelion but the key is to look at the underside of the flower head and if there are reddish streaks then it is mouse-ear-hawkweed. There are other differences too, the leaves are not serrated like those of the dandelion and the stem is hairy and not smooth like the dandelion. So you see they are not alike at all!
Flowering from May until October this is a species that likes short grassy areas, usually on poor lime soils; the dandelion likes richer, more neutral soil.  So no excuses, you can now tell the two apart!
Mouse-ear-hawkweed: just another dandelion