Hawkweed- Hieracium - Western Isles Yellow Wildflowers

Hawkweed - Western Isles Wildflowers

Hawkweed - Yellow Wildflowers
These tiny little pretty yellow wildflowers seen all over The Western Isles - and indeed Scotland and the UK - look similar to a dandelion.

Hawkweed - Genus of the Sunflower
The hawkweed is a genus of the sunflower and also closely related to the dandelion

There are about 300 different species of the flower - some being orange - or red. Many consider it as a weed - but it is too beautiful to be a weed

Many Species of Hawkweeds
There are many species probably around 300 of the hawkweeds growing in tHe Western Isles and throughout Scotland and the Uk and as they are so similar they are extremely difficult to identify (which is why as a novice - I have left this to the experts).

The reason there are so many species is due to the fact that the plant can produce seeds without fertilisation and so plants in one area are very similar but with distinct - though sometimes very subtle differences from plants in another area

Yellow Flowers - Similar to Dandelion
These lovely yellow wildflowers which many consider are weeds are very beautiful - especially when seen in some of their habitats in The Western Isles - like the one pictured above - high up right in a rock crevice.

The Hawkweed is a small, hardy perennial - which has either yellow, orange or red flowers - all being similar to the common dandelion. Hawkweed flowers consist of a dense, round flower-head with dozens of individual small florets. Each of these florets has a blunt tip that terminates with the the small teeth.

Name Derived from the Bird Hawk
The plant's scientific name comes from the Greek name for hawk - hierax. It was thought that the hawks ate the plant and this is why the hawk has such good eyesight

The hawkweed has for many years been used to treat ailments. Many used in the form of teas and tonics used to treat breathing difficulties, lung conditions or nausea or indigestion

Perennial Herb
Hawkweeds are perennial herbs of variable height (15–40 cm), and have a milky sap which is seen when their stems or leaves are broken

The leaves of the hawkweed are stalkless, hairy on both surfaces, with smooth or slightly toothed margins. They can be sometimes ‘sticky’ to touch. They occur in rosettes. Occasionally 2–4 alternate leaves appear near the base of the upright flower stem

Flowers are yellow, orange or red and ‘daisy-like’. They may be solitary or formed in a cluster of 5 to 30 flower heads. The flowers are 10–20 mm in diameter with square-ended petals, and grow on stems up to 40 cm. The flower stems are covered in short, stiff hairs.

Click pictures below for larger photographs


Seeds are purplish-black and ribbed with a bristly tuft up to 6 mm long.

Hawkweed Subspecies

There are many subspecies of Hawkweeds growing in The Western Isles and they are difficult wildflowers to name.

The Hawkweed sets seed without pollination and therefore retain their own characteristics but even so, given that there are dozens of them, identification is a hard job, perhaps best left to the experts.

Yellow Wildflowers-Hawkweed
Hawkweed - Western Isles Yellow Wildflowers
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