Picris hieracioides

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Picris hieracioides



Biennial or perennial herb with a thick stock and long, fleshy roots. Stems 15-100(-145) cm, pale green, sometimes suffused brownish-purple, erect, rigid, furrowed, with few to numerous, short to medium, simple, forked and anchor-like eglandular hairs, often with spreading or ascending branches sometimes from the very base, leafy. Leaves yellowish-green on upper surface, paler beneath, sometimes tinted purplish; basal and lower cauline with lamina 6-20 x 1-5 cm, lanceolate, ovate, narrowly elliptical or oblong, obtuse to acute at apex, entire to sinuate-dentate with mammiform or sharply mammiform teeth, narrowed at base into a short petiole; median and upper cauline similar but smaller, sessile and more or less amplexicaul; all with more or less numerous, short to medium, simple, forked and anchor-like, rigid hairs on both surfaces and the margins. Capitula few to numerous, 20-40 mm in diameter, terminal on the main stem and branches, some often sessile; peduncles short to long, bracteate and somewhat thickened distally, with short, curled hairs and numerous to dense, short to long, rigid simple, forked and anchor-shaped hairs. Involucral bracts in several rows, 9-15 x 1.5-2.5 mm, green to blackish, linear-lanceolate to narrowly elliptical, obtuse to acute at apex, glabrous or with numerous very short curled hairs and few to numerous, pale to dark simple, forked and anchor-like hairs. Flowers all ligulate, the ligules bright deep yellow and 5-lobed at apex, the outer often with a reddish stripe on the outer face. Receptacle flat, pitted, without scales. Achenes 3-6 mm, reddish-brown, fusiform, somewhat flattened, slightly curved, with fine, interrupted, transverse wrinkles, weakly ribbed, shortly beaked; pappus cream-coloured, in 2 rows, the outer of simple hairs, the inner of plumose hairs. Flowers 7-9. Freely visited by flies and bees, but may be apomictic. 2n = 10.

from: Sell, P. & Murell, G. 2006: Flora of Great Britain and Ireland 4. – Cambridge.


Picris hieracioides is a polymorphic species widespread in Europe and beyond, and its infraspecific taxonomy has been controversial up to the present. It has found to be a strictly allogamous species with a functional self-incompatibility system and is diploid with a basic chromosome number of x = 5, as is known from all species of Picris (Slovák & al. 2007).

Morphological and genetic variation in European populations of P. hieracioides as inferred from multivariate morphometric analyses and ALFP data does not corroborate the traditional infraspecific classification with its recognition of several subspecies, the circumscription of which has been rather controversial (Slovák & Marhold 2007; Slovák & al. 2012). Instead, both morphologically and genetically, only two infraspecific taxa can be distinguished (Slovák & Marhold 2007; Slovák & al. 2012): (1) one is largely restricted to higher altitudes (montane to alpine belt, rarely introduced to lower altitudes) across the European mountain ranges; it is found in montane to alpine tall herb communities, in supramontane to subalpine tall grass communities on relatively dry and warm slopes, in subalpine communities of deciduous shrubs, penetrating also in synanthropic habitats; its correct name is subsp. umbellata. (2) the other is widespread in the lowlands to the submontane belt (and rarely introduced to higher altitudes) across Europe; it is found in a variety of open habitats such as dry xerothermous grasslands and disturbed synanthropic habitats (roadsides, railways, lowland river terraces, orchards, vineyards, etc.); it corresponds to the typical subspecies.

Two further taxa very closely related to P. hieracioides are the Balkan coast endemic P. hispidissima and P. olympica from Turkey (Slovák & al. 2014, 2017). The former has been included as a third subspecies in P. hieracioides (Slovák & al. 2014). A key to the identification of these subspecies is provided here under Keys.

Slovák & al. (2017) resolved in their molecular phylogenetic analysis a clade which they informally named the Picris hieracioides group. Apart from the name-giving species, it comprises P. olympica, P. dahurica, P. nuristanica, the E Asian P. japonica, P. junnanensis and probably also all other E Asian taxa, and the Australian taxa. The P. hieracioides group evolved in the E Mediterranean-SW Asian region but a single evolutionary lineage of it managed to expand to E Asia and from their to Australia. The distribution of P. hieracioides in E Asia as well as its relationship to and delimitation from its E Asian allies is in need of revision.


Slovák M. & Marhold K. 2007: Morphological evaluation of Picris hieracioides L. (Compositae, Lactuceae) in Slovakia. – Phyton (Horn) 47: 73–102.

Slovák M., Šingliarová B. & Mráz P. 2007: Chromosome numbers and mode of reproduction in Picris hieracioides s.l. (Asteraceae), with notes on some other Picris taxa. – Nordic J. Bot. 25: 238–244.

Slovák M., Urfus T., Vít P. & Marhold K. 2009: The Balkan endemic Picris hispidissima (Compositae): morphology, nucelar DNA content and relationship to the polymorphic P. hieracioides. – Pl. Syst. Evol. 278: 187–201.

Slovák M., Kučera J., Marhold K. & Zozomová-Lihová J. 2012: The morphological and genetic variation in the polymorphic species Picris hieracioides (Compositae, Lactuceae) in Europe strongly contrasts with traditional taxonomical concepts. – Syst. Bot. 37: 258–278.

Slovák M., Kučera J., Záveská E. & Vd'ačný P. 2014: Dealing with discordant genetic signal caused by hybridisation, incomplete lineage sorting and paucity of primary nucleotide homologies: a case study of closely related members of the genus Picris subsection Hieracioides (Compositae). – PLoS One 9(9): e104929. // ➪ //

Slovák M., Kučera J., Lack H. W., Ziffer-Berger J., Melicharková A., Záveská E. & Vďačný P. 2017: Diversification dynamics and transoceanic Eurasian-Australian disjunction in the genus Picris (Compositae) induced by the interplay of shifts in intrinsic/extrinsic traits and paleoclimatic oscillations. – Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 119: 182–195 // ➪ //


Africa: Canary Is. (Canary Is.native: presence questionableA); KwaZulu-Natal (KwaZulu-NatalintroducedB,C) Asia-Temperate: Altay (AltaynativeD,E); China North-Central (Gansunative, Hebeinative, Shaanxinative, Shandongnative, Shanxinative); China South-Central (Guizhounative, Hubeinative, Sichuannative, Yunnannative); China Southeast (Henannative); Japan (HonshunativeF); Kazakhstan (KazakhstannativeG,H); Kirgizistan (KirgizistannativeI); Lebanon-Syria (Lebanonnative: reported in errorJ,K, SyrianativeJ); Manchuria (Heilongjiangnative, Jilinnative); Mongolia (MongolianativeL); North Caucasusnative (DagestannativeM, Kabardino-BalkariyanativeM, Karacheyevo-CherkessiyanativeM, KrasnodarnativeM, StavropolnativeM); Taiwan (Taiwannative); Tibet (Tibetnative); Transcaucasus (Abkhaziyanative, AdzhariyanativeM,N,O,P,Q, ArmenianativeM,O,R, AzerbaijannativeM,O,S, GeorgianativeM,N, NakhichevannativeM,O,S); Turkey (Turkeynative); West Siberia (West SiberianativeE) Asia-Tropical: East Himalaya (BhutannativeH,T, SikkimnativeT); India (Uttar Pradeshnative); Myanmar (MyanmarnativeU); Nepal (NepalnativeV,W,X); Vietnam (VietnamnativeH,Y,Z); West Himalaya (Himachal Pradeshnative, Jammu-Kashmirnative) Australasia: New South Wales (Australian Capital TerritoryintroducedAA, New South Walesreported in errorAA,AB); New Zealand North (New Zealand NorthintroducedAC,AD,AE); New Zealand South (New Zealand SouthintroducedAC,AD); Northern Territory (Northern Territoryreported in errorAB); Queensland (QueenslandintroducedAA,AB,AF,AG); South Australia (South Australiareported in errorAA,AB); Tasmania (TasmaniaintroducedAA,AB,AE,AF,AG); Victoria (Victoriareported in errorAA,AB); Western Australia (Western Australiareported in errorAA,AB) Europe: Albania (Albanianative); AustrianativeAH (Austrianative, Liechtensteinnative); Baltic States (Estonianative, Kaliningradnative, Latvianative, Lithuanianative); Belarus (Belarusnative); BelgiumnativeAH (BelgiumnativeAI, LuxembourgnativeAJ); Bulgaria (Bulgarianative); Central European Russia (Central European Russianative); Corse (CorseintroducedAH,AK,AL,AM,AN,AO); CzechoslovakiaAH (Czech Republicnative, Slovakianative); Denmark (DenmarknativeAH,AP); East European Russia (East European Russianative); Finland (FinlandnativeAH,AQ); Francenative; Germany (Germanynative); Great Britain (Great BritainnativeAH); Greece (GreecenativeAH,AR,AS,AT,AU,AV,AW); Hungary (Hungarynative); Ireland (Irelandintroduced: adventitious (casual)AX,AY, Northern Irelandintroduced: adventitious (casual)AX); Italynative; Krym (Krymnative); Netherlands (NetherlandsnativeAH,AZ); North European Russia (North European Russianative); Northwest European Russia (Northwest European Russianative); Poland (Polandnative); Portugal (Portugalnative); Romania (Romanianative); Sardegna (SardegnanativeAH,BA,BB); SicilynativeAH (MaltanativeBC,BD,BE, Sicilynative); South European Russia (South European Russianative); SpainnativeAH,BF (Andorranative, Spainnative); Sweden (SwedennativeAH,BG,BH); Switzerland (Switzerlandnative); Turkey-in-Europe (Turkey-in-EuropenativeAH,BI); Ukraine (Moldovanative, Ukrainenative); Yugoslavia (Bosnia-Herzegovinanative, Croatianative, Macedonianative: presence questionableAW, Serbianative, Slovenianative) Northern America: Alaska (AlaskaintroducedBJ); British Columbia (British ColumbiaintroducedBK); Connecticut (ConnecticutintroducedBJ); Illinois (IllinoisintroducedBJ); Kentucky (KentuckyintroducedBJ); Labrador (LabradorintroducedBK); Maryland (MarylandintroducedBJ); Massachusetts (MassachusettsintroducedBJ); Michigan (MichiganintroducedBJ); Montana (MontanaintroducedBJ); New Jersey (New JerseyintroducedBJ); New York (New YorkintroducedBJ); North Carolina (North CarolinaintroducedBJ); Ontario (OntariointroducedBJ,BK); Pennsylvania (PennsylvaniaintroducedBJ); Rhode I. (Rhode I.introducedBJ); Tennessee (TennesseeintroducedBJ); Vermont (VermontintroducedBJ); Virginia (VirginiaintroducedBJ); Washington (WashingtonintroducedBJ) Pacific: Hawaii (Hawaiian Is.introducedBL)

Common names

(Pakistan): BiraghasBM; Albanian (Albania): Cifur si këmashënBN,1; Arabic (Syria): مُرَّيْر صَقْريBO,1; Armenian (Armenia): Դառնիճ ճուռակախոտանմանBP,1; Bulgarian (Bulgaria): Мурицелова румянкаBQ,1, Рунянковидно горичивчеBR,1; Catalan; Valencian (Spain): GafallosesBF, ParraquesBF, PedaçosBF; Chinese (China): 毛连菜 mao lian caiH; Czech (Czech Republic): Hořčík jestřábníkovitýBS,1; Danish (Denmark): Ru BittermælkBT,1; English (Australia): HawkweedBU,BV, Hawkweed PicrisAA, Hawkweed picrisAB,BW, hawkweedBW, ox-tongueAB; English (Great Britain): Hawkweed OxtongueBX,1; English (Northern America): Hawkweed oxtongueBK; Estonian (Estonia): Kare mõrkjasBY,1; Finnish (Finland): KeltanokitkeröBT,1; French (Belgium): Picris fausse épervièreBZ,1; French (Corse): Picride fausse épervièreCA,1; French (France): Herbe aux vermisseauxCB,2, Picride fausse ÉpervièreCB,1, Picris fausse ÉpervièreCB,1; French (Northern America): Picride fausse-épervièreBK; French (Switzerland): Picride fausse épervièreCC,1; German (Germany): Gewöhnliches BitterkrautCD,1; German (Switzerland): BitterkrautCC,1; Italian (Switzerland): Aspraggine comuneCC,1; Japanese (Japan): Hama-kōzorinaCE; Latvian (Latvia): Mauragu rūgtpieneBY,1; Lithuanian (Lithuania): Vanaginis kartylisBY,1; Nepali (Nepal): Ban dudheV,W; Norwegian (Norway): BeiskeblomBT,1; Polish (Poland): Goryczel jastrzębcowatyCF,1, Goryczel jastrzębcowyCF,2; Romanian (Moldova): Ярба гэийCG,1; Russian (Armenia): Горлюха ястребинковиднаяBP,1; Spanish; Castilian (Spain): Picris como hieracioBF; Swedish (Sweden): BitterfibblaCH,1, BittermjölkeBT,2; Turkish (Turkey): Deli şıroCI; Vietnamese (Vietnam): Hoa mậtZ
1. recommended, 2. synonym


Willing E. 2012: Images (4 added)


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