Information on Cat’s-ear

Common Name: Cat’s-ear
Scientific Name: Hypochaeris radicata
Irish Name: Cluas chait
Family Group: Asteraceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Cat’s-ear is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

This is one of the many yellow flowers which might seem, to many people, to be tall Dandelions – this one can reach a height of 50 cm. There are so many wildflowers which have a Dandelion-like flower-head on a long stalk and very often it's only the experts who have any hope of identifying them. However, Cat's-ear is one wildflower which is less difficult than many of the others and this is because it has a few clear features which help. Firstly, just below the flower-heads is a slightly swollen part of the stem. The solitary bright-yellow flower-heads (25–40 mm across) are backed with numerous purple-tipped bracts ranked roughly in four-to-five rows below the circle of ray florets. Then it's easy to see that along the stem are a few scale-like bracts – I have been told that it is from these little features that the plant got its name. The hairy leaves are in a basal rosette, each leaf being lanceolate to oblong with wavy edges. This is a perennial plant of pastures, roadsides, laneways and dunes which flowers from June to September throughout Ireland. It is a native plant belonging to the Asteraceae family.  

My first record of this plant is from Ballyteigue, Co Clare in 2009 and I photographed it in Glenveagh National Park, Co Donegal in 2010. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Cat's-ear is a source of nectar for bees and is recommended to those who are trying to create a bee-friendly patch in their garden.