Healing Weeds - Getting a closer contact with the healing world of herbs and wild plants.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cat’s Ear

Hypochoeris radicata
Also called flatweed or false dandelion. NL: Biggenkruid / F: Porcelle enracinée

This plant is usually mistaken by dandelion, perhaps because of its bright yellow flower, which also ends up releasing its seeds as windborne “parachutes”. There are a few major differences: cat’s ear has hairy leaves and its leaves have round-dented lobes, while dandelion leaves have sharply toothed angles. 
detail of the hairy leaves

Now we are busy comparing both anyway, cat’s ear leaves are not so bitter as dandelion leaves and can be more easily accepted in salads, stews, soups. The root of this plant can be roasted and used to make a coffee, the same way as it is done with dandelion roots.
This is one of the plants that can be harvested as food almost the whole year through. Its leaves can be sometimes found healthily green even under a heavy layer of snow.

There is some risk of toxicity for horses, so you might want to remove it from meadows where horses are supposed to eat from. 

it has multiple flowers per stem
There are other edibles that look like dandelions. Some of them are briefly described in the following blog:

False Dandelions for Lunch - Eat the Weeds

In the link below you can see a nice video from Wild Plant Forager where you can get extra tips on how to use this plant and how to distinguish them from dandelions:

Cat's Ear - Hypochaeris radicata - Wild Plant Forager 

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