Meadow Hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum)

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Meadow hawkweed has clusters of many small, yellow dandelion-like flower heads on top of mostly leafless stems. The erect, bristly stems can grow up to 1 m tall, each topped by 5 to 30 bright yellow flower heads in a compact, flat-topped cluster. Each plant produces 10 to 30 flower stems. Flowers in bud are distinctively rounded and black-hairy in tight clusters at the tops of the stems. The leaves are long and narrow, up to six inches long, not lobed, somewhat hairy on both sides, and form a basal rosette. There are also usually one or two small leaves on the stem. The entire plant contains a milky juice. Meadow hawkweed has a shallow root system and underground creeping stems called rhizomes. New plants can arise from buds on the rhizomes and plants can develop several creeping stems (stolons) that are also capable of producing new plants.

Key Identifiers
  • Yellow flowers, with square edges than are notched
  • Leaves, stems and buds covered in bristly hairs
  • At flowering produces rhizomes and/or stolons
  • Milky sap
Location in Canada
All Canadian provinces are thought to have meadow hawkweed, BC east to Nfld. Populations are being reported in Clearwater, Wetaskiwin, Leduc and Yellowhead Counties in Alberta.

Nicole Kimmel, ARD

Resources Similar species
Native Hawkweeds (Hieracium sp) Many native hawkweeds are in North America but none will produce stolons and their flowers are mostly yellow, one being white. British Columbia, Ministry of Forests and Range, Forest Practices Brancy, Invasive Alien Plant Program - Key to Identification of Invasive and Native hawkweeds (Hieracium spp.) in the Pacific Northwest
Montana State University - Hawkweed Identification

Narrow-leaved Hawksbeard (Crepis tectorum) taproots, clasping stem leaves, petiolated basal leaves arranged in rosettes, and involucral bracts arranged in two rows.
Alaska Natural Heritage Program, University of Alaska, Anchorage - Narrowleaf hawksbeard

Sowthistles (Sonchus sp.) prickly margins, heads solitary, pappus soft white bristles, achenes flattened, at least twice as wide as thick - Weed Identification and Control sheet: Sow Thistle (Sonchus spp.)

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Chris Neeser.
This document is maintained by Shelley Barkley.
This information published to the web on April 10, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 21, 2018.