Orange hawkweed (pilosella aurantiaca, previously called: hieracium aurantiacum) is a small sized, broad-leaved lawn weed that is quite common in very neglected lawns in the North West of England.
It is also referred to as Fox-and-cubs, Tawny Hawkweed or the Devil’s Paintbrush and is probably my favourite flower of all of the lawn weeds that I come across due to its lovely orange flowers.
It has a circular arrangement of leaves that come from a single growth node at ground level. The leaves are dark green, a long oval in shape, quite hairy and can grow up to 15cm long. It flowers from May through to September and sends up a tall stem up to 60cm tall. Atop which sits its cluster of flowers. It is from this cluster that it gets the common name of Fox-and-cubs as often the fox-coloured flowers are mixed with those yet to open.
The orange hawkweed flower is a beautiful burnt-orange colour, similar in sized to the common dandelion (taraxacum officinale) (to which it is related) and it is really noticeable in a garden.
Is Orange Hawkweed a pest?
Orange hawkweek is on the noxious or quarantine list in some countries in which it has invaded. Especially the USA and Australia. Please check local regulations if you are outside of the UK.
It is a hardy perennial herb which was first brought over to Britain from central Europe in the 17th century as a garden plant. It’s not at all native to these isles. It has been here a fair while and has naturalised almost everywhere.
Hawkweed reproduces both through setting seed and through rhizome and stolon runners along the soil. It can be difficult to control by hand-weeding if it has been allowed to establish. It can spread quite quickly if it takes hold.
Orange hawkweed is easily controlled in lawns through chemical application, and a regular treatment will take care of these weeds in your lawn.
If you have a problem with hawkweed in your lawn, then get in touch and I will be happy to advise.