Hieracium cravoniense   Craven Hawkweed C? DD N

Hieracium cravoniense

On guided botanical trips you can be lucky enough to have an expert botanist who also specialises in one or two groups of plants. On this WFS teesdale trip our leader Vincent Jones was a Hawkweed enthusiast and so pointed out this plant which is found also on the Craven limestone of the Yorkshire Dales.

The Hieracium genus is one comprising a large number of micro-species like H. cravoniense which arise because of mutations taking place over time. Hieracia are apomictic which means that is spite of the insect attracting colour of the flowers they don't reproduce sexually. Seeds are clones of the parent. All generations would be identical if it were not for chance mutations which can come about through DNA reproductive mistakes, action of radiation from cosmic rays or background radiation or anything which might cause a viable change to the plant's DNA. The H. cravoniense we were shown had long white hairs which are a characteristic but years of study would be necessary to be able to separate confidently the micro species of this genus in the field.

Most records for H. cravoniense are more than 70 years old so it isn't certain how widespread this plant currently is. Recent records place it in the north west of England and not even in Teesdale where this one was seen. Otherwise it is mostly a Scottish plant with no records from Wales, southern England or Ireland.

Bowlees quarry, Teesdale 21st June 2005

Added on November 1st 2005, updated April 6th 2009, updated 7th April 2010, updated 16th November 2014

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