Mouse-eared Hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella) Info
Of Mousear, Culpeper said, "The Moon owns the Herb also, and though Authors cry out upon Alchymists for attempting to fix Quick Silver by this Herb and Moonwort: A Roman would not have judged a thing by the success, if it be to be fixed at all, 'tis by Lunar Influence." A Moon association is shown in this magick herb's milky white sap and the fact that it is a diuretic. It is also Lunar in its effects when smoked, being said to expand consciousness. This Moon plant is a traditional medicinal in England and Wales used for coughs and as a poultice for wounds. However, in Germany this yellow flower has a Sun influence. In an odd gesture to the lore of mandrake, Frazier (The Golden Bough, p. 57) describes folk going to the gallows hill at noon on Midsummer to dig up mouse-eared hawkweed (the digging tool of preference in this case being a gold coin). They referred to the plant's sap as the blood of St. John, and they would save it and dab it on an inside seam of their clothing to bring them luck in the marketplace.
In the Garden
Mousear's name comes from the hairy leaves that are curled like mouse's ear and very fuzzy underneath. This plant tends to grow in roughly circular patches surrounded by soil made bare by the plant's thirst and depletion of minerals, which keeps other plants from growing too close. A member of the Aster family, this small herb (4-12 inches) likes to grow in fields and on roadsides. It has yellow, dandelion-like flowers all summer. It favors dry soil and is a perennial in the South (zones 6-10) and an annual elsewhere.
How to Grow Mousear
Just barely cover the seeds. They will germinate in 21-30 days at 50-60F/10-15C. Or sow on Winter Solstice (see special directions on the Solstice Sowing page). This plant can grow in full sun to partial shade and makes a good rock garden plant. General growing info
© 2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission