Pilosella aurantiaca

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Pilosella aurantiaca
Hieracium aurantiacum LC0106.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae[1]
Genus: Pilosella
Species: P. aurantiaca
Binomial name
Pilosella aurantiaca
(L.) F.W.Schultz & Sch.Bip.[2][3]

Hieracium aurantiacum L.

Pilosella aurantiaca (fox-and-cubs, orange hawk bit,[4]:208 devil's paintbrush, grim-the-collier) is a perennial flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae native to alpine regions of central and southern Europe, where it is protected in several regions.[citation needed]


It is a low-growing plant with shallow fibrous roots and a basal rosette of elliptical to lanceolate leaves 5–20 cm long and 1–3 cm broad.[5] All parts of the plant exude a milky juice. The flowering stem is usually leafless or with just one or two small leaves. The stem and leaves are covered with short stiff hairs (trichomes), usually blackish in color. The stems may reach a height of 60 cm and have 2–25 capitula (flowerheads), each 1–2½ cm diameter, bundled together at the end of short pedicels. The flowers are orange, almost red, which is virtually invisible to bees, yet they also reflect ultraviolet light, increasing their conspicuousness to pollinators.[6] The flowers are visited by various insects, including many species of bees, butterflies, pollinating flies.[6] The flowers themselves come in a range of colors from a deep rust-orange to a pure yellow and often show striking gradients of color.

The plant propagates through its wind-dispersed seeds, and also vegetatively by stolons and shallow rhizomes.

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Whole plant

P. aurantiaca is widely grown as an ornamental plant in gardens for its very decorative flowers. often used in wildflower gardens due to its bright orange flowers being highly attractive to a wide array of pollinators. Although occasionally considered a weed due to their ability to colonize select areas, it is unwise to remove them, even in non-native settings, because this plant plays such a vital role at sustaining pollinator populations in meadow ecosystems.[7]


  1. ^ "Asteraceae tribe Cichorieae". Flora of North America. 
  2. ^ Bräutigam, S; Greuter, W (2007). "A new treatment of Pilosella for the Euro-Mediterranean flora". Willdenowia. 37 (1): 123–137. doi:10.3372/wi.37.37106. 
  3. ^ Schultz, FW; Schultz-Bipontinus, CH (1862). "Pilosella als eigene Gattum aufgestellt". Flora (Separatabdruck). 45: 417–441. 
  4. ^ Peterson, Roger Tory; McKenny, Margaret (1968). A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Company Boston. ISBN 0-395-18325-1. 
  5. ^ Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. 
  6. ^ a b Van Der Kooi, C. J.; Pen, I.; Staal, M.; Stavenga, D. G.; Elzenga, J. T. M. (2015). "Competition for pollinators and intra-communal spectral dissimilarity of flowers" (PDF). Plant Biology. doi:10.1111/plb.12328. 
  7. ^ "MEADOWMAT WILDFLOWER SPECIES: FOX AND CUBS". Meadow Mat Wildflower Matting.