Catsear (Cat's-ear) Facts

Catsear (Cat's-ear) Facts
Catsear, also known as false dandelion, is herbaceous plant that belongs to the aster family. It is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, but it can be also found in the eastern parts of North America, on the Pacific Northwest and in Australia today. Catsear prefers sandy, loamy or clayey soil and it can be frequently seen on the agricultural fields, along the roads, in the orchards, vineyards and gardens. Catsear is classified as weed in many countries outside its native range because it easily occupies new areas and prevents growth of native plant species.
Interesting Catsear (Cat's-ear) Facts:
Catsear has stiff, wiry, hairless stem with few branches. It usually grows 8 to 20 inches in height.
Catsear has fibrous root system that grows deep into the ground. Some of the roots are enlarged (taproot-like). Thanks to the strong, elongated root, catsear can easily survive prolonged periods of drought.
Leaves of catsear grow in the form of basal rosette. They are lance-shaped with irregularly lobed edges. Both sides of the leaves are covered with coarse yellow hairs.
Yellow flowers of catsear are arranged in the terminal flower heads. They are one inch wide and composed of tube-shaped flowers with both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Catsear blooms from May to November. Flowers attract bees and other insects which are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of catsear is single-seeded, orange-brown achene shaped like spindle. Seed is equipped with feathery hairs which function like parachute and facilitate dispersal of seed by the wind.
Catsear propagates via seed and buds on the crown.
Catsear grows quickly. Flower heads can be seen on the plants 2 months after sowing the seed. Catsear produces around 20 flower heads per season with 40 or more seeds per head.
Catsear and dandelion share many morphological similarities. Unlike dandelion, catsear has branched stem and produces several flower heads per plant. It has more prominent lobes on the leaves that are also hairy, while leaves of dandelion are smooth.
Entire plant is edible, but leaves and roots of catsear are the most frequently consumed. They can be stir-fried, steamed or used for the preparation of salads.
Roasted, ground root of catsear can be used as a substitute for coffee.
Animals such as pigs, horses, sheep, as well as many animals in the wild like to eat leaves and root of catsear.
Catsear, or "cat's ear", is named for its hairy leaves which resemble the ears of cats.
Catsear easily occupies golf courses, gardens, lawns and pastures. People use various mechanical (pulling of plant from the ground) and chemical (pesticides) methods to eradicate this plant from the occupied areas.
Catsear is perennial plant (life span: more than 2 years).

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