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Orange Hawkweed Identification

Orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) also known as devil’s paintbrush is a low-growing plant with shallow fibrous roots. The flowering stem is usually leafless. Each bright orange flower is between ½ to 1 inch wide and is grouped in clusters of 2-25 at the top of a small stem. It is a native to Europe and was first discovered in the US in 1945. Information for orange hawkweed was adapted from the Colorado Weed Management Association’s web site.

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Figure 1. Orange hawkweed flower. Photograph: UAF Cooperative Extension Archive, University of Alaska – Fairbanks, Bugwood.org

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Figure 2. Orange hawkweed plant. Photographer Washington State University Archive, Washington State University, Bugwood.org

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Figure 3. Orange hawkweed flower. Photographer: Michael Shephard, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org


Nez Perce County Distribution:

Orange hawkweed is prevalent in the Craig Mountain area of Nez Perce County. It is prevalent within meadows, grasslands, pastures, and hayfields. The plant forms a large mat, which prevents other vegetation from growing.

Nationwide, USDA reports the weed in thirty-three states.

Figure 4. Orange hawkweed Distribution in Nez Perce County.

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Impacts:

  • Infests hay fields.
  • Animals will not feed.
  • Forms mats that prevent other plants from growing.

Biology:

  • Likes moist, shady, and grassy areas.
  • Seeds remain viable in soil for up to 7 years. (USDA Forest Service)

Control:

Controls include herbicides. The goal is eradication. Contact your local herbicide professional for chemical recommendations.

References:

  • FEIS - Fire Effects Information System [Online] (1996, September). Prescribed Fire and Fire Effects Research Work Unit, Rocky Mountain Research Station (producer), US Forest Service. Available: Fire Effects Information [1998,March 12]
  • Callihan, R.H., L.M. Wilson, J.P. McCaffery, T.W. Miller, 1997. Hawkweeds. Pacific Northwest Extension Publication 499. Cooperatively published by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension, Oregon State Cooperative Extension Service, Washington State Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Hoffman, R. & K. Kearns, Eds.. 1997. Wisconsin Manual of Control Recommendations for Ecologically Invasive Plants. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources. Madison, Wisconsin.. 102pp.
  • Whitson, T.D. (Ed.) et al.. 1996. Weeds of the West. Western Society of Weed Science in cooperation with Cooperative Extension Services, University of Wyoming. Laramie, Wyoming. 630pp.
  • USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Staff, Newton Square, PA. Weed of the Week: Orange Hawkweed. 18 December 2005. 21 August 2013.
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