Japanese Hawkweed

Scientific name(s):  Crepis japonica and Youngia japonica
Abundance: plentiful
What:  young leaves and shoots, roots
How:  raw or cooked, roots roasted for coffee
Where:   disturbed areas
When:   winter/spring/fall
Nutritional Value: minerals and antioxidants
Other uses: After flower stalks have appeared mashed leaves can be used to soothe insect bites/stings.

Medicinal Summary:
Leaves - cough suppressant; fever reducer; mild appetite stimulant (tisane, tincture)

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are primarily basal, with most of the foliage concentrated at the base of the stem. There are few if any leaves along the stem itself.

Leaf Shape: The leaves are spatulate to oblanceolate in shape, measuring about 2 to 6 inches in length and 0.5 to 2 inches in width.

Leaf Venation: The venation is pinnate, characterized by a central main vein with smaller veins branching off to the sides.

Leaf Margin: The leaf margins are typically entire or slightly toothed.

Leaf Color: The leaves are generally a bright green, though they may exhibit a slightly paler hue on the underside.

Flower Structure: The flowers are borne on tall, slender stalks that rise above the foliage. Each flower head is small, with a diameter of roughly 0.2 to 0.5 inches. Multiple flowers will grow on an individual stem.

Flower Color: The flowers are usually bright yellow.

Fruit: The fruit of hawkeed is a small achene, typical of many plants in the Asteraceae family.

Seed: The seeds are tiny, equipped with a pappus of fine hairs that facilitate wind dispersal.

Stem: The stem is erect, slender, and can be either smooth or sparsely hairy. It may often branch out at the top.

Hairs: There may be fine hairs present on the stems and the lower surface of the leaves.

Height: The plant typically reaches a height of about 6 to 24 inches.

Japanese Hawkweed.



Japanese Hawkweed flowers are quite small and grow in clusters.

Close-up of flowers.

Japanese Hawkweed

Japanese Hawkweed leaves.
Japanese Hawkweed Leaves IGFB14

Young Japanese Hawkweed plant.

Japanese hawkweed invading a yard.
Japanese Hawkweed Seedlings IGFB14

Japanese Hawkweed Crepis

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. On the plus side, the leaves are less bitter than most of the other members of the dandelion family.

Unlike the other dandelion-mimics, Japanese Hawkweed remains low in bitterness even after the flowers begin blooming. You can add the leaves raw to salads or treat them as described in the other tips for preparing bitter greens. The basic methods are boil, wilt with bacon grease, mix with an acidic/sour dressing, or dilute them with bland greens.

Edible Dandelion Mimics:
Cat's Ear
Japanese Hawkweed
Sow Thistle
Texas Dandelion
Wild Lettuce

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