Cat's Ear / False Dandelion / Flatweed

CAT'S EAR (Hypochoeris radicata)

Get to know your Cat’s Ear / False Dandelion / Flatweed, and you need never go hungry again. That’s because this invasive weed, which was once native to Morocco, now inhabits every continent on the planet except Antartica. It’s been described as ‘one of, if not the most widely distributed introduced weeds’ (in NZ, Healy).

It’s notorious for taking over lawns, as it prefers compacted, poor soil & tolerates draughts.

Cat’s Ear is pretty incredible, having coevolved with humans, or should I say lawnmowers. It’s adapted from growing upright, with leaves & stems reaching towards the sun, to growing ‘flat’ to avoid the lawnmower (hence the name flatweed). I was checking out some flatweed in very poor, compacted soil in an old pathway in my garden. It was fascinating to note that even here where a lawnmower has never passed the catsear grows flat to the ground and even the flower stalks are bent over as if to avoid a lawnmower. Plants are AMAZING!

Use Cat’s Ear much like you would Dandelion: Fresh leaves in salad (bitter tasting), cooked in soups & stews or sauteed in stirfries & egg dishes (cooking diminishes bitterness). Cook the stems with unopened buds. Dig the roots for a coffee substitute.

In Nilgiri, India, Cat’s Ear is used by traditional healers to treat inflammation, infectious diseases, cancer & would healing. It’s known to be High in Vitamin C, with Antioxidant & iproperties.

Once you have your Dandelion I.D. sussed, you’ll find it easy to I.D. this one. You can read all about Dandelion in another one of my articles.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published