Horticulture Heading

 

Book cover - Common Weeds of New ZealandAn Illustrated Guide to
Common Weeds
of New Zealand

 

Hieracium pilosella
mouse-ear hawkweed

Family ASTERACEAE

Hieracium pilosella - mouse-ear hawkweedReproduced from
Common Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
New Zealand Plant Protection Society

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the authors and publisher.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always be given.

Available from Touchwood Books

Creeping, rosette-based, mat-forming perennial, often in dense colonies that exclude all other vegetation. Each flower stalk carries one large yellow composite flower head. The leaves have long hairs on the upper surface, and are downy white with star-shaped hairs on the undersides.

  • Flowers Lemon-yellow, about 3 cm in diameter, solitary on leafless stalks. The florets often have a red stripe the on outer surface. Flowers Oct-Feb.
  • Fruit Purplish-black achenes, about 2 mm by 0.5 mm, with off-white, simple brittle pappus hairs 5-6 mm long in a single row.
  • Leaves Dense rosette leaves are 5-8 cm long, almost entire, bluish-green. Leaves with scattered long hairs about 5 mm long on the upper surface, white with dense star-shaped hairs on undersides.
  • Stems Slender, unbranched flower stalks 10-25 cm tall and slender, creeping, hairy stolons spreading along the ground surface.
  • Roots Creeping underground rhizomes.

Habitat

High-country tussock and dry pasture land, river flats and terraces, road-sides and forest margins.

Distribution

Increasing in NI in Rotorua, Volcanic Plateau, Lake Waikaremoana, Kaimanawa and Ruahine Ranges and in Hawkes Bay. Common throughout SI and, except for Nelson, abundant in upper Waitaki Valley. Originally from Europe, north and central Asia.

Comments

A major weed of SI High Country pastures. Can be controlled by pasture improvement. Separated from other, similar species, by its large, solitary, pale yellow flowers and dense star-shaped hairs on stolons and undersides of leaves. Subject to Pest Plant Management Strategies in one or more regions. Check with the regional council for details.

Derivation of botanical name

Hieracium from the Gr. name for hawk, since Pliny, the Roman naturalist believed hawks ate the plant to strengthen their eyesight; pilosella (Lat.) = with short soft hairs.


Last updated: July 13, 2014