Smooth Cats-ear

Smooth Cats-ear

Hypochaeris glabra

Scientific name

Hypochaeris glabra is a species of flowering plant in the dandelion tribe within the daisy family known by the common name smooth cat's ear. It is native to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East but it can be found on other continents where it is an introduced species and a widespread weed. It has become widespread in Africa, southern and southeastern Asia, Australia, and parts of the Americas (especially California).

Hypochaeris glabra is an annual herb growing a small taproot, a basal rosette of leaves, and one or more thin stems 10 to 40 centimeters (4-16 inches) tall. The leaves are 2 to 10 centimeters (0.8-4.0 inches) long, smooth along the edges or with small lobes, and green in color, sometimes with a purplish tint near the veins. Atop the thin, naked stems are flower heads with small overlapping purple-tipped phyllaries and bright yellow ray florets. The fruit is a cylindrical achene with a white pappus almost a centimeter (0.4 inches) long.

Propagation instructions

By seed

Hand removal and cultivation can control both species of Hypochaeris. Common catsear is more difficult, as it has a taproot which can resprout. If the entire taproot can be removed, as with a shovel, to several inches below the root crown, common catsear will not grow back.

Mowing is not effective in controlling catsear.

Light to moderate grazing usually facilitates survival of these species.

Burning can stimulate germination of common catsear and probably smooth catsear seed.

No known biocontrol agents are available for either species of Hypochaeris

(DiTomaso, J.M., G.B. Kyser et al. 2013. Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States. Weed Research and Information Center, University of California. 544 pp.)

References and further reading

Wikipedia page »

Image credit: Curtis Clark

Can you help us remove this species?

This species is a difficult weed in our Fynbos patches. Can you help us remove it? See our activity calendar for upcoming activities, or arrange with us visit our Fynbos patches and do the weeding in your own time.

I can help!

Important characteristics

This species was selected because it is a difficult alien invasive weed in our Fynbos patch(es).

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