Mouse-ear Hawkweed Pilosella officinarum

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
mouse-ear hawkweed


The common name for Pilosella officinarum is Mouse-ear Hawkweed. This plant is characterized by its rosette of fuzzy, spoon-shaped leaves that closely hug the ground. The leaves are green with a hint of gray because of their fine hairs. Mouse-ear Hawkweed produces flowering stems that bear small clusters of bright, sunny yellow flowers. Each flower resembles a daisy, with a central disk surrounded by ray-like petals. These blooms tend to open in the full sunshine and can add a splash of color to their surroundings. The stems of the plant have a slightly furry appearance, which complements the soft texture of the leaves. After flowering, the plant produces fluffy white seed heads that can help with the dispersal of seeds by wind. Mouse-ear Hawkweed often has a creeping habit, spreading to form a mat-like ground cover with its slender runners. The general impression is that of a delicate and fuzzy, yet resilient herbaceous plant with a preference for sunny spots.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Hieracium Pilosella, Pilosella Officinarum, Yellow Hawkweed, Hairy Hawkweed, King-devil, Devil's-paintbrush, Field Hawkweed, Mouse-ear, Grim-the-collier

    • Common names

      Hieracium pilosella, Hieracium officinarum, Pilosella officinarum subsp. officinarum, Hieracium pilosella var. piloselloides, Pilosella piloselloides.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Mouse-ear hawkweed (Pilosella officinarum) is not commonly known for its toxicity to humans. There are no significant reports suggesting that it contains poisonous substances that would cause harm upon ingestion. As with any plant matter, individual allergic reactions or sensitivities are possible, but generally, mouse-ear hawkweed is not considered dangerous to humans.

    • To pets

      Mouse-ear hawkweed is not recognized as a toxic plant for pets. There is limited information suggesting any serious risk associated with the ingestion of mouse-ear hawkweed by pets such as dogs and cats. However, as with any non-food plant, consumption in large quantities may lead to gastrointestinal discomfort or irritation. Owners should always monitor their pets and prevent them from eating large amounts of any non-dietary vegetation to avoid potential digestive upset.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Erosion Control: Pilosella officinarum, commonly known as hawkweed, has a robust root system that can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion.
    • Pollinator Attraction: Hawkweed flowers are known to attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, which are essential for the pollination of many other plant species.
    • Habitat Creation: It provides a natural habitat for insects and small animals, contributing to biodiversity.
    • Drought Tolerance: Hawkweed is drought-tolerant once established, requiring less watering and maintenance compared to other plants.
    • Landscape Aesthetics: With its bright yellow flowers, hawkweed can add visual interest and aesthetic value to gardens and landscapes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Diuretic: Pilosella officinarum, commonly known as hawkweed, is traditionally used as a diuretic, promoting the excretion of urine to aid in the flushing of the urinary tract.
    • Astringent: As an astringent, it has been used to tone skin and reduce bleeding from minor abrasions.
    • Antiseptic: Hawkweed contains antiseptic properties that may help in preventing the growth of various bacteria and fungi.
    • Anti-inflammatory: It has been utilized to alleviate inflammation, which can aid in reducing swelling in various conditions.
    • Expectorant: Hawkweed has been used as an expectorant to help expel phlegm from the respiratory tract, thereby aiding individuals with coughs or colds.
    • Hepatoprotective: Some traditional use suggests potential liver-protecting effects, but more research is needed to confirm this medicinal property.
    • Cholagogue: Hawkweed may also act as a cholagogue, stimulating the flow of bile from the liver, which can aid in the digestive process.
    • Wound healing: Topical application has been associated with enhanced wound healing, although this use is less documented.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Food for caterpillars: The leaves of Hawkweed are a source of food for the caterpillars of certain butterfly species, thus it can play a part in supporting local biodiversity.
    • Dye production: The plant holds potential for natural dye production, often yielding yellow to orange hues when used for fabric dyeing.
    • Garden ornamental: Hawkweed, with its bright yellow flowers, can be used as an ornamental plant in wildflower gardens and less manicured green spaces for aesthetic purposes.
    • Livestock feed: In some areas, Hawkweed is used as forage for livestock, such as sheep or goats, although it is not a first-choice plant due to its bitter taste.
    • Companion planting: Hawkweed can be used in companion planting due to its deep-root system, which is believed to help draw nutrients up from lower soil layers for other plants.
    • Green manure: Hawkweed has the potential to be used as green manure, given that it can be plowed back into the soil to add organic matter and nutrients.
    • Biomonitoring: Hawkweed could serve in biomonitoring programs to detect changes in environmental conditions like soil health or pollution levels due to its sensitivity to certain soil characteristics.
    • Soil erosion control: Due to its fast-growing and ground-covering nature, Hawkweed can be effectively used to control soil erosion on slopes or in areas at risk of degradation.
    • Educational tool: Hawkweed's diverse interactions with the environment make it a useful tool in educational settings, teaching about plant biology, ecology, and biodiversity.
    • Photography subject: The vibrant blossoms of Hawkweed make it an excellent subject for nature photography and can be used to raise awareness about native plant species and their importance.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Hawkweed is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Hawkweed is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Health and Healing: Pilosella officinarum, commonly known as "Mouse-ear Hawkweed," is often associated with health benefits and healing because of its medicinal properties that have been traditionally used to treat various ailments.
    • Persistence: The plant's ability to thrive in difficult conditions and its vigorous spreading nature symbolizes persistence and the ability to overcome challenges.
    • Survival: As Mouse-ear Hawkweed can grow in a wide range of environments, it represents the strength and tenacity required for survival.
    • Resourcefulness: Mouse-ear Hawkweed is known for its capacity to colonize new areas swiftly. This trait signifies resourcefulness, signifying the plant's ability to make the most out of available opportunities.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The common name for Pilosella officinarum is hawkweed. When watering hawkweed, aim to keep the soil consistently moist without over-watering. During the active growing season in spring and summer, water the plant deeply once a week using approximately one gallon of water per square yard of soil. In the fall and winter, reduce watering to once every two weeks or when the soil feels dry to the touch. Always check the top inch of soil for dryness before watering to avoid over-saturation.

  • sunLight

    Hawkweed thrives in full sun to partial shade. For optimal growth, place the plant in a location where it will receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, though it can tolerate some light shade during the hottest part of the day. Avoid deep shade, as insufficient light can lead to poor flowering and weak growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Hawkweed prefers temperate climates and will perform best in temperatures ranging from 50°F to 77°F. It can withstand temperatures as low as 20°F, making it suitable for growing in regions with cold winters. However, prolonged exposure to temperatures below this minimum can damage or kill the plant. In summer, if temperatures consistently exceed 85°F, provide some afternoon shade to protect the plant from heat stress.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune hawkweed to remove dead or faded flowers and encourage a second bloom. Lightly trim back the plant after flowering in the summer to maintain its shape and promote healthy, dense growth. The best time for a more thorough pruning is in early spring before new growth emerges, which helps to rejuvenate the plant and prepare it for the growing season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Mouse-ear hawkweed (Pilosella officinarum) thrives in well-draining, sandy or loamy soil with moderate fertility. A good soil mix for this plant would consist of one part garden soil, one part sand, and one part compost to ensure proper drainage and nutrition. The pH of the soil should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 5.5 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Mouse-ear hawkweed is a low-maintenance plant that typically doesn't require frequent repotting. It should be repotted once it outgrows its current container, which may be every 2-3 years. Check the plant's root system in the spring and repot if necessary.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Mouse-ear hawkweed prefers outdoor conditions and is not particularly humidity-sensitive. It generally tolerates a wide range of humidity levels found in natural environments and will do well in average outdoor humidity without the need for specific humidity adjustments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright light and well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Pilosella officinarum, commonly known as Mouse-ear Hawkweed, begins its life cycle as small, wind-dispersed seeds that germinate in a suitable substrate, often in open grassy areas. Upon successful germination, seedlings emerge and develop into a rosette of leaves close to the ground, expressing its perennial nature through vegetative growth. Over time, the rosettes establish a strong root system and may produce lateral shoots (stolons) that spread and can form new clonal rosettes, ensuring a method of asexual reproduction. Throughout the spring and summer, Mouse-ear Hawkweed sends up flowering stems which bear yellow, dandelid-like flowers that attract pollinators and enable sexual reproduction through the production of seeds. After the flowering period, seeds mature and are released to restart the cycle, while the parent plant may persist over the winter as a rosette, experiencing dormancy until favorable conditions return. Throughout its life, Mouse-ear Hawkweed can reproduce both sexually, through seeds, and asexually, through stolons, allowing for adaptable survival strategies in diverse environments.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Propogation: Mouse-ear hawkweed (Pilosella officinarum) is commonly propagated through stoloniferous runners, which are horizontal stems that grow at the soil surface or just below it and can root at the nodes to form new plants. As the runners extend, they can create a dense mat of vegetation. The process typically occurs during the growing season when temperatures are warm enough to support growth, which is usually in late spring through summer. When a runner has developed roots and formed a rosette of leaves, it can be separated from the parent plant with a sharp knife or shears, ensuring that there is a portion of the runner with roots attached. This new plantlet can then be transplanted to a desired location, preferably in well-drained soil with full sun to partial shade exposure. It is important to water the new plantlets regularly until they are fully established.