Definitions for hieracium
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Hieracium, genus Hieracium(noun)
large genus of perennial hairy herbs of Europe to western Asia to northwestern Africa and North America; few are ornamental; often considered congeneric with Pilosella
Hieracium, known by the common name hawkweed and classically as hierakion, is a genus of the sunflower family Asteraceae, and closely related to dandelion, chicory, prickly lettuce and sow thistle, which are part of the tribe Cichorieae. Hawkweeds, with their 10,000+ recorded species and subspecies, do their part to make Asteraceae the second largest family of flowers. Some botanists group all these species or subspecies into approximately 800 accepted species, while others prefer to accept several thousand species. Since most hawkweeds reproduce exclusively asexually by means of seeds that are genetically identical to their mother plant, clones or populations that consist of genetically identical plants are formed and some botanists prefer to accept these clones as good species whereas others try to group them into a few hundred more broadly defined species. What is here treated as the single genus Hieracium is now treated by most European experts as two different genera, Hieracium and Pilosella, with species such as Hieracium pilosella, Hieracium floribundum and Hieracium aurantiacum referred to the latter genus. Many members of the genus Pilosella reproduce both by stolons and by seeds, whereas true Hieracium species reproduce only by seeds. In Pilosella, many individual plants are capable of forming both normal sexual and asexual seeds, whereas individual plants of Hieracium only produce one kind of seeds. Another difference is that all species of Pilosella have leaves with smooth margins whereas most species of Hieracium have distinctly dentate to deeply cut or divided leaves.
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