Crepis mollis

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAsteraceaeCrepisCrepis mollis


A winter-green perennial of herb-rich grassland and wood-pasture on shallow base-rich soils. From 90 m beside the Swarland Burn (Cheviot) to 670 m in Caenlochan (Angus).



World Distribution

European Temperate element, with a continental distribution in W. Europe.

© K.J. Walker, BSBI

Broad Habitats

Calcareous grassland (includes lowland and montane types)

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 1.7

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.2

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1079

Life form information

Height (cm): 60

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 75

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -1.2

Distribution information

JNCC Designations


External Species Accounts

Scarce Atlas Account

Scarce Atlas Account: 

Crepis mollis (Jacq.) Asch.

Northern hawk's-beard

Status: scarce



Found in herb-rich grassland or wood pasture on shallow, slightly flushed, base-rich soils, often on north-facing slopes. At those of its localities by upland burns, which are typically associated with intrusive rocks, it is found on banks away from the burn. In this it differs from C. paludosa, which is often present nearby in a much wetter habitat. It may be associated with other yellow composites including Hieracium spp., Hypochaeris radicata, Leontodon autumnalis and L. hispidus, together with basic grassland species such as Briza media and Coeloglossum viride, or, in more shaded situations, with Fragaria vesca, Fraxinus excelsior, Geum rivale, G. urbanum, Lathyrus linifolius, Prunus padus, Saxifraga granulata and Viola riviniana. It is usually found between 150 and 400 metres, descends to 90 metres in Northumberland and reaches 670 metres at Caenlochan.

It is a winter-green perennial forming a dense root mass from a short rhizome. Fresh rosettes frequently replace the parent rosette after flowering. Seed germinates more readily in spring than autumn. The flowers are relished by rabbits.

C. mollis is local and apparently declining, but still somewhat under-recorded. It cannot be refound at a number of the stations where it was recorded in the late nineteenth century. Many new sites in Northumberland and Durham have, however, been discovered in recent years and new sites have also been found in the Scottish Borders. It is plentiful at a few sites.

It is a continental species, occurring in central Europe from the Pyrenees, northern Italy and southern Russia northwards to Germany, Poland and central Russia.



M. E. Braithwaite

PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (299c) Meusel H, Jäger EJ
1992.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols. Stewart A, Pearman DA, Preston CD
1994.  Scarce plants in Britain.