Tuesday 21 May
Stinking hawk's-beard (Crepis foetida)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Stinking hawk's-beard fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Stinking hawk's-beard description
Stinking hawk's-beard is a member of the large family of composites which includes daisies, thistles and dandelions. It is distinguished from its many similar-looking relatives by its drooping buds and characteristic smell resembling bitter almonds, although some people are unable to detect this.
- Height: up to 60 cm (usually a max 40 cm in UK).
Stinking hawk's-beard biology
This species appears to behave as an annual in the UK, and is in flower from June to August. It is thought that the plant requires regular disturbance of the soil to maintain its presence at a site. It is also thought that it cannot tolerate too much competition from more vigorous plants.
In Europe it grows widely but is declining in western and central parts, is endangered in the Netherlands and vulnerable and rare in Switzerland and Slovakia. On the continent, it is found on a wider range of habitats, stretching from sandy sea shores to dry meadows and rocky places inland as well as waste places and cultivated land.Top
Stinking hawk's-beard range
Essentially a plant of southern Europe, stinking hawk's-beard is at the northern-most limit of its range in the UK. It is now believed to be extinct in the wild in Britain, last reported from Dungeness in Kent in 1980.Top
Stinking hawk's-beard habitat
The plant favours open, well drained, warm places such as shingle and rocky outcrops, including chalk.Top
Stinking hawk's-beard status
Classified as Endangered in the UK, but now Extinct as a wild plant.Top
Stinking hawk's-beard threats
The stinking hawk's-beard has probably never been a common plant in Britain. There are records of it from Somerset, Essex, Middlesex, Berkshire, Suffolk and Bedfordshire although some of these are casual occurrences and do not indicate that the plant was particularly numerous.
At Dungeness in Kent there have been no records since 1980. The reason for this local extinction is unknown but studies of re-introduced plants suggest it may have declined through its habitat becoming less disturbed.Top
Stinking hawk's-beard conservation
In order to re-establish stinking hawk's-beard in Britain it was important to learn more of the plant's ecology. Studies of European sites where the plant was still found were carried out to determine the habitat requirements and a study of the previous management of Dungeness was undertaken.
English Nature included the stinking hawk's-beard into the Species Recovery Programme and began to plan a series of re-introductions to suitable sites within the plant's known former range. Plants were propagated from seed obtained from Cambridge University.
Plants introduced at the Dungeness site in 1992 initially thrived, but the population then declined to extinction by 2002 as a result of the overgrowth of other vegetation. It has since been established at other sites at Dungeness and Rye.
It is hoped that with further research into the plant's ecology and a better knowledge of the conditions it survives under in the European sites, this will result a successful re-establishment of stinking hawk's-beard as a British plant.Top
Find out more
See also Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew:
Information supplied by English Nature.
- Lives or grows for just one year.
© Andrew N. Gagg
Andrew N. Gagg
'Town House Two'
Tel: +44 (0) 190 574 8515
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.