The Hawkweeds are a very large family, and it will be a long time before you learn to recognise them all.
The Autumnal Hawkbit is the commonest, and it is found nearly everywhere, in meadows, in pastures, and in waste places. It flowers in late summer and autumn.
The leaves grow in a rosette close to the ground. They are dark green, rather smooth, and are shaped like narrow feathers, with the edges irregularly cut into deep, rounded teeth. They all spring from the centre root.
The heads of yellow flowers grow on tall, slender, wiry stalks. Very tiny scale-like green leaves grow up the stalks at intervals. Each yellow head is made up of many small yellow tubes with a strap at the mouth, and these strap tubes are crowded together all over the flower-head.
When the yellow flowers are withered, the seed-vessels remain, each with a tuft of feathery cotton down attached to it But the down ball is not a perfect one as in the Dandelion; and the down looks grey.
The top of the flower-stalk is clothed with layers of narrow pointed green leaves which are tinged with red, and are sometimes woolly. These layers are pressed tightly one above the other like the scales of a fir-cone, and they cover the yellow flower completely when it is in bud.
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