Information on habit, biology, persistence & spread for Smooth hawk's-beard.

Other names

Smooth crepis

Latin names

Crepis capillaris (L.) Wallr.

Weed Type

Annual Broad-leaved Weeds


Smooth hawk’s-beard is a common winter or summer annual, native in grassy places, rough and waste ground throughout Britain. It is a rapid colonist of dry, disturbed habitats. Plants are variable in robustness and the degree of glandulosity of the peduncles and of the involucral bracts. Var. glandulosa is commoner in northern Britain.


Smooth hawk’s-beard flowers from June to September. Damaged plants may flower in the autumn. The flowers are self-incompatible and are insect pollinated. Seed is set from July to August. There are 40 seeds per flower head.

Persistence and Spread

The seeds have a pappus of hairs and are wind dispersed. In samples of perennial and Italian ryegrass seed of Irish origin tested in 1960-61, smooth hawk’s-beard seed was found as a contaminant in over 4% of samples tested.


In pasture and meadows it should be spudded out to prevent seeding. The growth of the other vegetation should be encouraged. When rabbits are excluded from grassland, smooth hawk’s-beard flowers freely and increases in number.

Fully referenced review