Coastal Plain Hawkweed, Beach Botany

132

Coastal Plain Hawkweed, Hieracium megacephalon, a herbaceous perennial that grows on sandhills, flatwoods and pinelands in almost every county in the State.

A single main stem grows from a tap root through a basal rosette which is common for Aster plants. The upper portion of the main stem divides into branches.  Plant height  is about 18” to 20”.  Simple leaves are alternate. Length 1 ½” to 3” long and ½ as wide. Leaf shape elliptic to obovate. Leaf margins are slightly toothed. Leaves and stems are covered with coarse hairs.

Flora stalks and flower heads form at the tips of branches. Inflorescence is terminal.  Flowers heads are ¾” in diameter. There are no disc florets, only yellow ray florets that are ligulate or strap shaped. Ray florets grow in ranks. As many as 20 to 50 Florets per head.  As many as 50 flower heads are produced on the plant. Fruit is the common Aster achene pod.

Hairs are actually stick-like appendages called Trichcomes. Trichomes have functions such as absorbing water and nutrients, reflecting radiation, and reducing  water loss, and warding off insects.

The specimen in the photo was found in Powell Creek Preserve in North Fort Myers.

 

Photo by James Rodwell