Oriental false hawksbeard (Youngia japonica).

Oriental false hawksbeard is an annual and biannual weed of waste ground, cultivated fields and roadsides. In Australia it is generally found on the east coast, from Sydney north.

Hawksbeard is an herbaceous flowering plant with a solitary, erect growth habit. It is ofen mistaken for Dandelion in the vegetative phase. Once it flowers it also looks like weeds such as Catsear.

As it is an annual, it needs bare soil to establish every year, unlike perennial weeds like Dandelion which only need to establish once.

After you finish reading this, you will be able to:

  • Identify Oriental False Hawksbeard.
  • Know the habitat of Oriental False Hawksbeard..
  • Know the best cultural and chemical options to control Oriental False Hawksbeard.

Mature plants have a basal rosette of leaves and a single main stem, that branches near the top to produce a small number of flower stalks.

The leaves are fairly large and broad, with deeply lobed margins in the basal half. They are covered with short, bristly hairs, and have a reddish thin reddish stem covered with short hairs.


How to Identify Oriental false hawksbeard.

Category: Herb.

Flower: The bright yellow flowers occur on short stalks. The flowers, about 12mm in diameter each, and each flower can have up to 20 circularly arranged, golden-yellow ray petals

Height: Erect annual herb to 60 cm high, hairy at base.

Leaf length: Leaves basal and cauline, oblong or obovate, usually lyrate-pinnatifid, with large terminal segment, 1.5–12 cm long, , margins finely toothed, surfaces glabrous.

Leaf width:1–5 cm wide

Dispersal: Hawksbeard reproduces solely by seeds that look like dandelion seeds. Seeds are dispersed by wind, water & unintentionally by people

Comments: The lower leaves are simple, spatulate, and hairy, with a lobed margin. The hairless, linear leaves found on the upper portion of the stem are the same as those along the flower stalk. The leaves and stem will expel a milky sap if damaged. Seedlings of Hawksbeard grow in a rosette (circular arrangement), emerging from a central point at the soil lineThe lobes of Dandelion leaves tend to point down towards the base of the leaf, whereas hawksbeard lobes point directly outwards. Once the weeds flower, they become easier to tell apart. Hawksbeard has branched, leafy flower stems, unlike Dandelion, and Catsear.

The image below is courtesy of Massey University in NZ.

Habitat: It will grow in almost any soil types, in semi-shade or no shade, and requires moist soil.

Oriental False Hawksbeard is a good soil indicator weed of moist soils. For more information check out our weed ID Chart.

Oriental false hawkeed vs dandelion and cats ear leaves

How to control Hawksweed in your lawn.

You can control Oriental Hawksweed by cultural and chemical means.


Cultural control:

Hand weeding is easy but you must remove both above-soil and underground plant parts. If you try and remove this by mowing it is ineffective, as this  regrows if any root remains.

Ideally remove this before it matures and becomes well rooted in the ground. The key to its control is to remove it before it seeds.

If you maintain a thick, dense grass canopy it promotes healthy turf and gies turf grass a greater chance of outcompeting Oriental False Hawksbeard.


Chemical control:

Currently there are several options available for selective post-ermegent control in Australia. Failing this you can se Glyphosate as a non-selective control. So if you want to treat this weed in your lawn you will have to spot treat the weed.

Interestingly, the NZ label for the pre-emergent herbicide Esplanade, has a registration for Oriental False Hawksbeard but this is not currently the case here.