Catsear Hypochaeris radicata

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
cat's ear


The plant commonly known as cat's ear showcases a rosette-forming base from which emerge green, hairy leaves that are lobed and resemble the ears of a feline, hence the name. The texture of the leaves can be described as slightly rough or bristly to the touch. Throughout the blooming season, the plant sends up flower stems, each topped with a bright yellow, dandelion-like flower head. These blossoms are composed of many small, tightly packed, individual yellow florets that collectively create a charming, sun-like display. The flowers are known for attracting various pollinators such as bees and butterflies. After the blooming period, the florets mature into a ball of white, fluffy seed heads, similar to those of true dandelions, which can be easily dispersed by the wind. The overall visual effect of cat's ear is one of a wildflower commonly found in meadows, grasslands, or even as an opportunistic plant in disturbed soils.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Cat's Ear, Flatweed, False Dandelion, Long-rooted Cat's-ear, Spotted Cat's-ear, Common Cat's-ear, Hairy Cat's-ear.

    • Common names

      Achyrophorus glabratus, Achyrophorus radicatus, Apargia glabrata, Apargia hispida, Apargia radicata, Hedypnois radicata, Hypochaeris glabrata, Seriola radicata.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Hypochaeris radicata, commonly known as cat's ear, is not considered toxic to humans. It is actually edible when young and tender, often eaten in salads. There are no well-documented cases of poisoning from this plant in humans, and consequently, there are no specific symptoms associated with its ingestion that are of concern.

    • To pets

      Cat's ear is not generally known to be toxic to pets either. It is not listed among the commonly recognized poisonous plants for animals such as dogs and cats. As such, ingestion of this plant is unlikely to cause significant symptoms of poisoning. However, individual pets may have varying sensitivities, and eating non-food plants can sometimes lead to mild gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea. If a pet shows any signs of distress after consuming any plant, it is always best to consult a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      0.5-1 feet (15-30 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Edible parts - The leaves of the Hypochaeris radicata, commonly known as catsear, can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like spinach, providing a source of food.
    • Nutritional value - Catsear leaves contain various vitamins and minerals which contribute to a balanced diet.
    • Animal fodder - The plant can be used as a forage crop for livestock, offering a food source for animals like cattle, sheep, and goats.
    • Wildlife habitat - Catsear provides habitat and food for a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies, contributing to biodiversity.
    • Soil improvement - Catsear has a deep taproot which can help to break up compacted soils, potentially improving soil structure and fertility.
    • Ornamental uses - With its bright yellow flowers, catsear can add aesthetic value to gardens and wildflower meadows.
    • Drought resistance - Catsear is a hardy plant that can survive in dry conditions, making it suitable for xeriscaping or low-water gardens.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Diuretic: Hypochaeris radicata, commonly known as catsear, has historically been used as a diuretic.
    • Appetite stimulant: The plant has been associated with stimulating appetite.
    • Cholagogue: It is believed to promote the flow of bile, which could be helpful in liver and gallbladder conditions.
    • Antiscorbutic: Catsear has been used to prevent or treat scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Animal Fodder: Hypochaeris radicata, commonly known as catsear, can be used as fodder for livestock such as cattle and horses, as it is a hardy perennial that can be found in pastures.
    • Soil Indicator: The presence of catsear is often an indicator of compacted soil, so its appearance can alert gardeners or farmers to soil conditions that may need ameliorating.
    • Dye Production: Historically, the yellow flowers of catsear may have been used to produce a yellow dye for coloring fabrics or crafts.
    • Insect Feed: The nectar from catsear flowers is a food source for a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies, aiding in local biodiversity.
    • Companion Planting: Catsear can be grown as a companion plant as its deep roots may help break up compact soils, benefiting other plants with shallower root systems.
    • Edibility: The young leaves of catsear can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like spinach, offering a nutritious food source for those interested in foraging or edible wild plants.
    • Floral Displays: While not a traditional ornamental flower, catsear can be used in informal wildflower arrangements or to add a natural, wild look to garden flower displays.
    • Bioremediation: Because of its tolerance to various soil conditions, catsear could potentially be used in projects aimed at restoring or protecting disturbed land areas.
    • Education: In educational settings, catsear can be used to teach students about plant identification, native weeds, and their role in the ecosystem.
    • Survival Food: Catsear could serve as an emergency food source in survival scenarios, where knowledge of edible wild plants is crucial.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The common catsear is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The common catsear is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Hypochaeris radicata, commonly known as catsear or flatweed, often symbolizes resilience due to its robust nature and capability to thrive in challenging conditions.
    • Survival: As a plant that can survive in poor soil and harsh environments, catsear embodies the spirit of survival and adaptability.
    • Tenacity: The deep roots of catsear exemplify tenacity, representing the plant's ability to hold firmly to life and growth, no matter the circumstances.
    • Persistence: Catsear's tendency to reappear even after being removed conveys a message of persistence, often reflecting an undying effort or determination.
    • Opportunism: The plant's quick spread and colonization of disturbed soil can symbolize opportunism, making the most of available resources and chances.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    For the cat's ear (also known as flatweed), it's crucial to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. During the growing season, water the plant once to twice a week with about 1 to 2 gallons of water, depending on the weather conditions, ensuring that the water penetrates deeply into the soil. In cooler months, reduce watering frequency to once every two weeks or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. Over-watering can cause root rot, so it's better to err on the side of underwatering than giving too much.

  • sunLight

    Cat's ear thrives in full sunlight to partial shade. It prefers a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. If grown indoors, a south-facing window is ideal, but it can also manage with some afternoon shade, especially in hotter climates where the midday sun may be too intense.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Cat's ear is hardy and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but it grows best in conditions between 50°F and 75°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to about 20°F but should be protected from frost. The plant is not well-suited to extreme heat and may require shading if temperatures consistently rise above 80°F.

  • scissorsPruning

    Cat's ear should be pruned to remove spent flower stems and dead leaves, which promotes new growth and helps maintain a tidy appearance. This can be done at any time during the growing season. However, major pruning to shape the plant is best done in the early spring before new growth begins. Pruning is not overly frequent and may only be necessary once or twice a year.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Cat's ear (Hypochaeris radicata) prefers well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH, ranging between 5.6 and 7.5. The best soil mix for Cat's ear could be composed of garden soil, compost, and sand in equal parts to ensure good drainage and fertility. Regular garden soil improved with organic matter can also support its growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Cat's ear (Hypochaeris radicata) is not commonly grown as a potted plant and does not require frequent repotting. If grown in pots, repotting every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its container is sufficient.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Cat's ear (Hypochaeris radicata) is adaptable to a wide range of humidity conditions and does not require any special humidity requirements. It thrives in average outdoor humidity levels.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Cat's ear in bright light and well-draining soil indoors.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Cat's ear in full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Hypochaeris radicata, commonly known as catsear or flatweed, begins its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in early spring when soil temperatures increase and moisture is adequate. Upon germination, it grows a rosette of hairy, lance-shaped leaves close to the ground throughout its first year. In the following year(s), it produces flowering stems that can reach up to 70 cm tall, each with several yellow flower heads resembling those of dandelions. After pollination, typically by insects such as bees, the flowers develop into seed heads with wind-dispersed seeds. These seeds can lie dormant in the soil for several years before conditions become suitable for germination again. The plant is perennial, which means it can live for several years, but individual plants may act as annuals or biennials depending on environmental conditions.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method of propagation for the common catsear, Hypochaeris radicata, is through seed. The best time to sow the seeds is in spring after the last frost has passed, or in autumn, in climates with mild winters. To propagate, one would typically scatter the seeds on a prepared seedbed with well-draining soil, then lightly cover them with soil. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged to encourage germination. Seedlings will emerge in a couple of weeks, and once they have grown to a suitable size, can be thinned out and transplanted to their final positions. This plant can prolifically self-seed once established, making it an easy plant to propagate through this method.