52. Leontodon Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 798. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 349. 1754.
Hawkbit [Greek leon, lion, and odons, tooth, alluding to deeply toothed leaves]
David J. Bogler
Annuals or perennials, 10–80 cm; fibrous-rooted, sometimes tuberous, or with short caudices. Stems 1–20+, simple and scapiform or sparingly branched, glabrous, tomentulose, or coarsely hirsute. Leaves basal; petiolate (petioles winged). blades oblanceolate, margins entire or dentate or deeply lobed (faces glabrous or hispid, hairs simple or minutely 2–3-fid). Heads borne singly or 2–5 in loose, corymbiform arrays. Peduncles slightly inflated, naked or minutely bracteate. Calyculi of 10–20, subulate to lanceolate bractlets in 1–2 series (unequal), glabrous, tomentulose, or hirsute. Involucres campanulate, 4–15 mm diam. Phyllaries 16–20 in 2+ series, narrowly lanceolate, subequal, glabrous, tomentulose, or hirsute. Receptacles convex, pitted, sometimes slightly villous, epaleate. Florets 20–30; corollas yellow to orange (outer sometimes with reddish or greenish stripes). Cypselae light to dark brown or reddish brown. fusiform or cylindric, curved, distally narrowed and not beaked, or beaked, ribs 10–14, faces muricate, glabrous; pappi of ± distinct, yellowish white, tan, or pale brown bristles in 1–2 series (all uniformly plumose or outer reduced; pappi of outer cypselae sometimes reduced to crowns of bristlelike scales). x = 4, 6, 7.
Species ca. 50 (3 in the flora): introduced; Europe, n North Africa, Mediterranean, w Asia.
Leontodon is recognized by the basal rosettes of pinnatifid leaves, scapiform stems, loosely imbricate phyllaries, yellow corollas, and plumose pappus bristles. Some species are somewhat doubtfully distinguished by an overlapping mixture of vestiture and pappus characters.