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Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) Links

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Contributors » Marcel Roy » Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum)

Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) discovered by Marcel Roy (#596)

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Sighting Info

Observed: July 8, 2011 @ 2:00 PM
Posted on: July 9, 2011 @ 6:19 AM (diff: 1 days)
Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) is a regional noxious weed - fibrous-rooted perennial with milky juice and above ground runners grows 30 to 60 cm tall; leaves mostly basal; leafless flowering stalk covered with stiff, black, glandular hairs; vibrant orange-red flowers - similar plants include yellow hawkweed (Hieracium pratense) which has yellow flowers and meadow hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella), also yellow-flowered but with only one flower head per stem

Sighting's Identification

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Newfoundland Nature

Newfoundland Nature

Comments by Site Members (scroll to post comment)

By foxy on 7/11/2011 5:21:02 PM

Do you really think it's noxious? I rather like them. I have noticed that the Hieraciums are scorned by bumblebees, but hummingbird moths seem to find them interesting.

By foxy on 7/15/2011 7:57:45 PM

Here's my interpretation of the garbled 'lore' about Hawkweed. It has been written in old medicinal tracts that the weed was used by Hawks to improve their eyesight. In fact, due to the form of the plant - rosette of leaves hugging the ground and slender flowering stems - from a hawk's vantage point, a vole in the grass would become visible when it entered the patch of hawkweed, and available for a strike. The savvy farmer would welcome some patches of hawkweed in the field, knowing that hawks would use them to catch voles or mice, because they made their prey visible.

By Marcel Roy on 7/15/2011 10:19:26 PM

I read somewhere that it was believed that hawks feeding on the sap is what gave them better eyesight. Untreated infestations quickly form dense mats of rosettes that excludes all other vegetation.

By foxy on 7/15/2011 11:08:37 PM

Yes, I've read the same. The reference in Grieve is under a different genus, Leontodon spp,where "Hieracium, derived from the Greek, hieras (a hawk) refers to an ancient belief that hawks ate these plants to sharpen their sight.." Culpepper says it was used externally for eye problems, but this is not surprising if the lore of the farmer was misinterpreted as medicine. I'm not sure that hawkweeds are competitive against meadow grasses... there are some very old fields in my area and perhaps I should go and take a look, how well they have spread in the old pasture.

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