Orange Hawkweed

The Devil’s Paintbrush Day Thread (August 13, 2023)

Orange Hawkweed (Pilosella aurantiaca), also known as Fox-and-cubs and the Devil’s Paintbrush is a flowering plant than grow up to half a metre in height with stems noted for their hairiness.

Apparently this plant – which has hundreds of varieties and bleeds a milky sap when broken – was named after Pliny the Elder’s belief as written his The Natural History that the bird of prey “tears it open and sprinkles its eyes with the juice” to improve its eyesight.

The orange hawkweed is unusual because of its bright orange colour and is quite a pretty flower but is considered invasive in British Colombia where it’s is designated a “Regional Noxious Weed” as well as some states in the United States. In Australia, hawkweed species are deemed to be “State Prohibited Weeds” New South Wales and Victoria.

Orange Hawkweed

It’s a nasty plant when it comes to competition; both their pollen and decaying leaves produce toxic chemicals which kills their embryos, ceasing seed germination. One plant produces hundreds of seeds and create dense patches which dominate native plants. That’s one bad-ass plant with some beautiful flowers. This has been Gardener’s Corner and I hope you have a beautiful day!