Scientific name(s): Crepis japonica and Youngia japonica
What: young leaves and shoots, roots
How: raw or cooked, roots roasted for coffee
Where: disturbed areas
Nutritional Value: minerals and antioxidants
Other uses: After flower stalks have appeared mashed leaves can be used to soothe insect bites/stings.
Close-up of flowers.
Young Japanese Hawkweed plant.
Japanese hawkweed invading a yard.
Flowering Japanese Hawkweed.
Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.
North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Appearing just about everywhere there is grass, Japanese hawkweed appears to be a dandelion but with clusters of tiny, yellow flowers. It is a close relative of dandelions and contains all the same beneficial nutrients. Unfortunately its flowers and roots are too small to be used like those from dandelions.
Like all the other dandelion-mimics, Japanese Hawkweed is best eaten before the flower stalk appears. Its leaves become very bitter once the flowers begin blooming. Treat these leaves as described in the other tips for preparing bitter greens. The basic methods are boil, wilt with bacon grease, mix with a acidic/sour dressing, or dilute them with bland greens.