This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
The flowerheads are yellow, borne on branched scapes, which are thickened just below the flowerheads, and nearly erect. The whorl of leaf-like organs is shorter than the florets, which are overlapping, equal, and numerous, with ray florets, with five teeth, with yellow anthers forming a tube. The flower-stalks bear small scales near the top, and are often flattened along the sides.
The plant is about 18 in. in height. The flowers can be found in June up till September. It is perennial, increased by division of the root.
The flowerhead is yellow, large, and conspicuous, and is thus visited by numerous insects. The florets bear both stamens and carpels, with both ray and disk florets, the petals forming a tube which is hairy at the top, preventing the entrance of rain. The stamens are capillary, and the anthers unite to form a tube, as in the majority of Composites. The style is threadlike and as long as the stamens. The two stigmas are recurved to prevent self-pollination when insect visits are possible. Amongst the visitors are Honey Bee, Bombus, Dasvpoda, Panurgus, Colletes, Rhopkites, Andrena, Halictus, Sphecodes, Diphysis; Diptera (Syrphidae, Eristalis, Pipiza, Conopidae, Sicus, Muscidae, Demoticus).
The fruits are provided with pappus, and are dispersed by wind.
The Long-rooted Cat's Ear is largely a clay-loving plant, growing on clay soil and also on sand soil.
The stems of the Cat's Ear are liable to be galled by Aulax hvpochaeridis. A beetle, Cryptocephalus sericeus, a Homopterous insect, Aphalara picta, and a fly, Tephritis vespertina, feed on it.
Photo. W. E. Mayes - Long-rooted Cat's Ear (Hypochaeris radicata, L.)
Hypochaeris, Theophrastus, is from the Greek hypo, under, and choiros, a hog, the roots being eaten by pigs. The second Latin name refers to the long root. It is called Bent, Cat's-ear, Gosmore.
It is to be distinguished from Leontodon autumnale by its long root, apart from the following characteristics.
Essential Specific Characters: 181. Hypochaeris radicata, L. - Stem scaly, leaves radical, runci-nate, lobes recurved, hirsute, flower-stalk forked, smooth, thickened above, flowerheads yellow, involucre shorter than florets.