Rough cat's ear is a non-native herbaceous perennial
that can reach about 3' in height, but is often shorter. Both of the
Hypochaeris species in California have erect stems with milky
sap, but as the name indicates, while glabra is glabrous, radicata
hairy, something well-illustrated in the last picture below. H.
glabra is also an annual with a slender taproot, whereas H. radicata
has a fleshy taproot. This cat's ear has leaves that are 2"
to 5-1/2" long, ± spatulate-shaped, and pinnately cleft
into shallow lobes or teeth, and like glabra are in a basal rosette.
The flowering heads are ligulate and yellow in color, and the
ligules are 5-toothed. Another difference between the two species is
that H. glabra has short inconspicuous ligules while those in
H. radicata are longer and much more conspicuous. The achene
body is brownish with a slender beak and feathery pappus. Although
the Jepson Manual says it is abundant, the only place I have ever seen
it is where I took these photos, in my friend Tom Chester's front yard
in Fallbrook. It is a weed of lawns and disturbed places mostly nearer
the coast, blooming from May to November, and is naturalized from Europe.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Hypochaeris
Pronunciation: hy-po-KEER-is rad-i-KAY-ta.
Click here for Botanical