Crepis tectorum (Narrow-leaf Hawksbeard)

Plant Info
Also known as: Yellow Hawk's Beard
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; dry, sandy, disturbed soil; roadsides, railroads, fields, empty lots, open woods
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:8 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals Cluster type: flat Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Open clusters of up to 20 dandelion-like flowers at the top of the plant and on stems branching from the upper leaf axils. Individual flowers are yellow, about 1 inch across, and have 30 to 70 rays (petals).

[photo of bracts] There are 2 sets of bracts. The 12 to 15 inner bracts are up to 3/8 inch long and usually sharply pointed at the tip. The outer surface is covered in matted or short stiff hairs, the inner surface covered in fine, appressed hairs. The outer bracts are narrow, half or less as long as the inner bracts, and also covered in matted and/or short stiff hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of lower leaves] Leaves change shape as they ascend the stem. There is a rosette of basal leaves, each up to 6 inches long and 1 inch wide, coarsely toothed with a pointed tip and short stalk. Basal leaves mostly wither away as the plant matures. Lower stem leaves are more irregularly toothed or divided with sharply pointed lobes, curled edges, and are mostly stalkless.

[photo of auricles] The stem leaves quickly lose this shape and progressively become smaller and very narrow, toothless, often with a pair of small lobes (auricles) at the base. Leaves near the top of the plant are less than ¼ inch wide. Stems are branched in the upper and/or lower plant, mostly ridged and variously covered in matted or short, stiff hairs.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] The flower heads turn into seed heads. Seeds are dark purplish brown with a tuft of white hairs to carry them off in the wind.


A common weed, it was once an agricultural pest and considered a noxious weed in some counties, but Round-up Ready crops took care of that. It resembles the uncommon native Incised Hawksbeard (Crepis runcinata). Narrow-leaf Hawksbeard has 2 characteristics that, combined, separate it from other dandelion-type weeds: the auricles on at least some of the stem leaves, and the inside surface of inner bracts covered in appressed hairs, though magnification may be required to see them clearly.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Sharon - Grand Portage Band Reservation
on: 2010-07-25 12:36:51

I saw these near the Marina on the Reservation near the National Monument.

Posted by: Bill - Hay Lake, Carlton County
on: 2011-06-14 13:40:15

We have a lot of these, both by the water and in the forest along the path from the cabin.

Posted by: Bill - Hay Lake, Carlton County
on: 2011-06-14 18:21:47

On second glance, I think what we have in abundance is Hairy Hawkweed. They have a leafless 1' stem and a cluster of just-blossoming flowers.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2011-06-14 18:30:50

What you probably really have is a different weedy hawkweed, possibly king devil, Hieracium piloselloides, or meadow hawkweed, Hieracium caespitosum. Hairy hawkweed, Hieracium longipilum is an uncommon native, taller than 1 foot with very long hairs on the leaves and stems. If you have some images you can post them on our Facebook page and we'll see if we can give you a positive ID.

Posted by: Janice - Itasca County
on: 2012-06-14 19:28:20

We have amazing amounts of a flower very similar to this EXCEPT they are only 1/2" wide. They are tall with almost no leaves and grow along the roads in mid-Itasca County, in ditches, and all over this year.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2012-06-14 20:14:58

Janice, you probably have one of the hawkweeds, Hieracium caespitosum and/or Hieracium piloselloides. Both highly invasive. The roadsides in the Arrowhead region are full of them and they are making their way west and south. :(

Posted by: Gene T - Sunrise, Chisago Co
on: 2017-06-18 10:47:04

I have an infestation of what looks like some type of hawkweed in alfalfa (but are other areas too). They look similar to narrow-leaved you have displayed but I don't see any sign of a rosette at the base. 4-24" tall (depending on soil). Question, how to eliminate? Thanks

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2017-06-18 11:59:18

Gene, there are several weedy and invasive Hieracium spp. hawkweeds in your area. It could be any one of them. Or even one of the Sonchus spp. sowthistles. Even with chemical treatment like Round-up you'll have a seed bank to contend with for many years. Be persistent.

Posted by: Robin - Rochester
on: 2018-07-03 13:39:14

These have been spotted in several containers in my yard. I have a chipmunk that likes to plant seeds for me and this is one of the seed plantings. So far they have not made it into my prairie restoration area. I do not use herbicides. Advice on control other than pull and dispose?

Posted by: Joel Reiter - Isanti County
on: 2019-06-09 13:50:26

I planted a soybean field into pasture last fall and was delighted by the thick green carpet that emerged before winter. To my dismay, the first week of June the grass is being shaded by a tall forest of lovely yellow flowers. I have never seen these in such dominance. I don't know if there were that many seeds in the soil or if they were part of the grass seed that I planted.

Posted by: Julie - Tandem township, Clay county
on: 2022-06-18 17:45:15

We have about an acre of these on our property. Full sun, disturbed soil, former ag field.

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