Could this be a field with Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)? Or how about this next group of yellow flowers?
Nope. Neither photo shows the Common dandelion. Let’s look more closely.
These flower heads are from the first field of flowers pictured above. This is Cat’s ear (Hypochoeris radicata) — a plant previously featured in a comparison with Common dandelion.
This next photo is the flower from the second group of yellow composite flowers. It is Meadow hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum).
With a quick glance, it might seem that this is the same flowering plant. But look more carefully at another nearby specimen of each plant — one that is not quite blooming yet.
Although both “not-yet-blooming” flower heads have a similar overall shape, the Cat’s ear tends to grow singly or in spread-apart clusters (as shown in the third photo above). Meadow hawkweed has a tightly grouped cluster of flower heads — which can be seen in this comparison image as well as the next photo.
Here’s another photo of the Cat’s ear composite flower.
Check out the stem on the Cat’s ear plant. It is smooth. In contrast, Meadow hawkweed’s stem is hairy.
Here’s Meadow hawkweed in its late fall / early winter phase. The hairiness of the leaves is quite visible.
How about the Cat’s ear leaves?
Well, they are hairy, too! So how can we tell them apart when they are not blooming? Look closely at each plant’s leaf shape. They are clearly different along their margins.
Here is one last photo of Meadow hawkweed — illustrating its overall growth habit.