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Orange hawkweed

Quick facts

Orange hawkweed is an invasive species.

  • Orange hawkweed is found in northern moist pastures, forest openings, abandoned fields, clearcuts and roadsides.
  • Hawkweeds colonize and can rapidly dominate a site.
  • It is an early successional plant and appears in large numbers on newly disturbed sites.
  • The plants form solid mats of rosettes, causing loss of native plant diversity.

Orange hawkweed should be reported. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides detailed recommendations for reporting invasive species.

three orange hawkweed flowers in bloom with many other dark red blossoms

How to identify orange hawkweed

  • Perennial herbaceous plant, 10–24 inches high.
  • Produces a milky sap.

Stem

  • Covered with short, stiff, black hairs and emerges from a basal rosette.

Leaves

  • Rosette of hairy, entire or minutely toothed, spatula-shaped leaves.
  • Individual leaves are dark green on the upper surface and a lighter green underneath and are two to nine inches long.

Flowers

  • Form in clusters of five or more on leafless flower stocks.
  • Individual flowers are one half to one inches in diameter, can be bright yellow, orange or red in color, and have a dandelion-like appearance with square petals.
  • Blooms May to June.

Seeds

  • Each flower bears 12–30 tiny, columnar seeds with a light brown tuft of bristles for wind dispersal.
  • Seeds survive in the soil for up to seven years.

Roots

  • Spreads primarily vegetatively through runners (four to twelve per flowering plant), rhizomes and sporadic root buds.
    base and stem of orange hawkweed plant
    Orange hawkweed
single orange and yellow orange hawkweed flower
Orange hawkweed

 

Angela Gupta, Extension educator; Amy Rager, Extension educator; Megan M. Weber, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2019

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