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Cat's Ear

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Cat's Ear photos

Scientific Name:Hypochoeris radicata
Cats-ear plants growing through senesced Salt-marsh Grass
Cat's-ear plants growing through senesced Salt-marsh Grass
Photo: A J Brown

Other Common Names:

Flat-weed, Common Cat’s-ear, Hairy Cat’s-ear, False Dandelion, Long-rooted Cat’s-ear, Hawkweed


Native to Europe. Naturalised throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Plant Description:

Perennial herb to 80 cm tall and oblanceolate (lance-shaped with point attached to stem) leaves 2-30 cm long and 10-40 mm wide. Leaf margins are toothed to slightly lobed. Leaf surfaces are rough and covered in short stiff hairs.

Flower-heads are 20-30 mm across on leafless and slightly scaly stems. Flowers are bright yellow. The fruit is a cypsela or achene (dry, indehiscent and one-seeded), 8-17 mm long with a long beak.


Common and widespread weed across Victoria, particularly in wetter environments, invading native vegetation as well as disturbed areas. Appears to have some tolerance to salinity as it occurs on heavier ground around the edges of saline lakes and swamps.

RegionSalinity ClassWaterlogging Class
Mallee, Loddon MurrayS0, S1W1, W2, W3
Central and Northern, Wimmera, Western, GippslandS0, S1, S2W0, W1, W2, W3


Cat’s-ear belongs to a group of mainly yellow-flowered daisies in the Tribe
Lactuceae. The plants in this tribe are characterised by having a basal rosette of leaves (flat-weeds), milky sap in their stems and their flower-heads consisting entirely of ray florets (i.e. no ‘eye’ to the daisy). Cat’s-ear is very similar to other ‘flat-weeds’ such as Lesser Hawkbit and Smooth Cat’s ear. From the former it differs in having branched and scaly stems and from the latter in its hairy leaves and ‘petals’ that are much longer than its involucre (flower-head cup). See Key to Yellow Daisy Flat-weeds.

Cat's Ear Photos
Cats-ear young rosette
Young rosette of leaves - Cat's-ear
Photo: A J Brown
Cats-ear hairy leaves
Hairy leaves of Cat's-ear
Photo: A J Brown

Flowering plant of Cat's-ear
Flowering plant of Cat's-ear
Photo: A J Brown

Flower and involucre of Cats-ear
Flower and involucre of Cat's ear
Photo: A J Brown

Cats-ear fruit
Fruit with pappus attachment of Cat's-ear

Photo: A J Brown

Cats-ear branching stem
Branching stem of Cat's-ear
Photo: A J Brown

Cats-ear flower
Cat's-ear flower
Photo: A J Brown
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