Crepis pulchra L.

Small-Flowered Hawksbeard


CC = *
CW = 5
MOC = 5

© SRTurner

Family - Asteraceae/Cichorieae

Habit - Taprooted annual forb with milky sap.

Stems - Ascending to erect, to 1 m, unbranched below the inflorescence, sticky and moderately pubescent with glandular hairs.

Crepis_pulchra_stem.jpg Stem and leaf base.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Basal and alternate. Basal leaves to 20 cm, petiolate, lobed or coarsely toothed, moderately pubescent with glandular hairs. Stem leaves similar, reduced toward tip, usually sessile and often with clasping triangular auricles.

Crepis_pulchra_leaf.jpg Leaf base and auricles.

© SRTurner

Crepis_pulchra_leaf2.jpg Leaf abaxial.

© SRTurner

Inflorescences - Loose terminal panicles.

Crepis_pulchra_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Involucre - Cylindrical, the bracts in 2 series, the inner bracts 10-14, to 12 mm, similar in size, mostly lanceolate, the tip ascending at flowering, keeled, glabrous; the outer bracts much shorter.

Crepis_pulchra_involucre.jpg Involucre.

© SRTurner

Heads - Ligulate, receptacle glabrous. Ligulate florets 15-30, the corolla 5-12 mm long. Pappus of bristles 4-5 mm long.

Crepis_pulchra_head.jpg Head.

© SRTurner


© SRTurner

Fruits - Dimorphic, the inner ones 4-5 mm long, the outer ones 5-6 mm long, more or less cylindrical, not beaked, 10-ribbed, the inner fruits with the ribs usually smooth, the outer fruits with the ribs usually minutely roughened or barbed, yellowish brown to light brown.

Crepis_pulchra_fruits.jpg Fruits.

© SRTurner

Flowering - May - July.

Habitat - Open, disturbed areas.

Origin - Native to Eurasia.

Lookalikes - Other species of Crepis; more broadly, numerous plants in the Cichoreae tribe of the Asteraceae, particularly those in the genera Hieracium, Sonchus, Leontodon, Hypochaeris, and others.

Other info. - This species is uncommon and sporadic in Missouri, currently reported from only a few counties. The genus is broadly recognized by open, wiry inflorescences and sessile, clasping stem leaves. Identification to species relies on a suite of characters requiring close examination. C. pulchra is a little easier than most, having stems which are sticky toward the base with glandular hairs. This commonly gives the lower stems a "dirty" appearance due to adherence of bits of foreign matter.

North American species of Crepis form an interconnected complex of polyploid forms which are often morphologically variable and intergrading. For this reason, specimens are sometimes difficult to key unambiguously. The flowering heads of the plants will open wide under appropriate conditions, but are most commonly seen partially closed, at least in our area.

Photographs taken at Weldon Spring Conservation Area, St. Charles County, MO, 5-9-2012, and along the Katy Trail near Dutzow, Warren County, MO, 5-29-2013 and 6-6-2020 (SRTurner).