Lesser Hawkbit - Leontodon saxatilis

    Description

    Low to short slightly hairy plant with unbranched stem, scarcely thickened below the flowerhead, without leaf-like bracts. Leaves narrowly oblong, broadest above the middle, untoothed to pinnately lobed. Flowerheads solitary, 12 to 20 mm deep yellow, the outer rays greyish violet beneath. Flower bracts pale, narrow-lanceolate with stiff hairs.

    Similar Species

    Other hawkbits (Leontodon and Scorzoneroides), Hawkweeds (Hieracium and Pilosella) and Cat's-ear (Hypochaeris)

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Stems leafless but with a few bracts, leaves have forked hairs (Autumnal Hawkbit and Cat's-ear have simple hairs).  Bracts glabrous or hairy, but plants usually much less hairy than Leontodon hispidus.  Underside of petals is usually greyish-violet (L hispidus usually reddish)

    Recording advice

    The County Recorder has asked that a specimen is retained for verification.  A side-on picture of the flowerhead and stem may help. Cannot be verified form a 'full-face' picture looking down onto the flowerhead; there are very many similar flowers.

    Habitat

    Grassy habitats, usually on sandy or calcareous soils.

    When to see it

    Flowers June to October.

    Life History

    Short lived perennial.

    UK Status

    Widespread in the southern half of Britain, more coastal further north.

    VC55 Status

    Infrequent, but possibly overlooked in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 54 of the 617 tetrads.

    In the current checklist it is listed as Native; grassland.  There are few recent records, but it is probably under-recorded.

    It is on the VC55 Rare Plant Register

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map