Orange hawkweed (pilosella aurantiaca)

By | 12/05/2015
A stem of Orange Hawkweed buds and flowers
An Orange Hawkweed plant

An Orange Hawkweed plant

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.

Orange Hawkweed Flowers

Orange Hawkweed Flowers

Orange Hawkweed Flower

An Orange Hawkweed flower

Orange Hawkweed Rosette

The Orange Hawkweed rosette of leaves

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.

Kris Lord

5 thoughts on “Orange hawkweed (pilosella aurantiaca)

  1. Carol Franklin

    I found the orange hawkweed on the front step of my house in between the slabs and the steps. I liked it very much and decided to dig it up and put it in a pot although I didn’t think I would get it out but I have learned through your website that it only has short roots. A bit disappointed that it is a weed but I wondered if it would be best kept in a pot in view of the fact that it is invasive. It is a really lovely burnt orange colour.

  2. David bruce

    Planted it deliberately as it is said to be good in sandy soil. They were not wrong. It can be very invasive and very fertile from wind blown seeds. I am having a real battle over several years to eradicate it. Keeps popping up from little shots of root or runner or in unexpected places from wind blown seed that I on allowed to mature. The only good thing is the orange flowers give its position in the border away.. For attention.

  3. Jacqueline Bell

    We found this for the first time in our front garden this year. It id a beautiful burnt orange and we have noticed it is now coming up more. Do we have to pull it up or can we let it grow free.

    Yours faithfully
    Jacqueline Bell
    Salford, Manchester
    Great Britain.


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