Beaked Hawk's-beard - Crepis vesicaria


    Medium to tall hairy plant, stems branched, leaves dandelion-like, the lowermost stalked, the middle ones clasping the stems with pointed lobes and the uppermost leaves linear and bract like. Flowerheads yellow, the outer florets striped red/brown beneath 15 to 25 mm borne in lax-branched flat topped clusters that are erect in bud. Pappus soft and white.

    Similar Species

    Crepis biennis.  There are several other rare species

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Flowering stems with leaves.  C vesicaria (beaked hawk’s-beard) is the most commonly recorded of two similar species in our area, but to tell it from Crepis biennis the achenes (seeds) should be checked.  C. vesicaria has beaked achenes (i.e. the seed has a long narrow extension under the fluffy 'parachute').  Check inner ones as well as outer as it sometimes has outer achenes without a beak).  C biennis (Rough Hawk's-beard) doesn't have beaks on its achenes.

    Recording advice

    Check the achenes!  A photo of the whole plant in its habitat. This cannot be verified form a 'full-face' picture looking down onto the flowerhead; there are very many similar flowers.


    Grassy and waste places, roadsides, banks.

    When to see it

    May to July.

    Life History

    Annual or perennial.

    UK Status

    Widespread north to Yorkshire.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 234 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map