Hawkbit Plant Information

Hawkbit grows in the following 36 states:

Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wisconsin, Oregon, West Virginia, Alabama, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington

Recent research has shown that the genus Leontodon in the traditional delimitation is polyphyletic. Therefore, the former Leontodon subgenus Oporinia was raised to generic level. According to the nomenclatural rules the name Scorzoneroides has priority at generic level and therefore, the members of Leontodon subgenus Oporinia were transferred to the re-erected genus Scorzoneroides.Their English name derives from the mediaeval belief that hawks ate the plant to improve their eyesight. Although originally only native to Eurasia and North Africa, some species have since become established in other countries, including the United States and New Zealand.Leontodon is a genus of plants in the dandelion tribe within the sunflower family (Compositae), commonly known as hawkbits.

Seeds of Leontodon species are an important food source for certain bird species.
In Crete, the species Leontodon tuberosus which is called (glykovyzia), (glykoradika) or (vyzakia) has its roots eaten raw and its leaves eaten steamed.
The genus Leontodon s.str. (i.e. excluding the members of the resurrected genus Scorzoneroides) is a rich source of hypocretenolides, unique guaiane type sesquiterpene lactones with a 12,5-lactone ring instead of the usual 12,6 lactone ring.
Phenolics found in Leontodon include luteolin type flavonoids and caffeoyl quinic acid derivatives such as chlorogenic acid and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid. Moreover, Leontodon species contain the caffeoyl tartaric acid derivatives caffeoyl tartaric acid and cichoric acid.

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