Pilosella aurantiaca (fox-and-cubs, orange hawk bit,: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.
It is a low-growing plant with shallow fibrous roots and a basal rosette of elliptical to lanceolate leaves 5–20 centimetres (2.0–7.9 in) long and 1–3 centimetres (0.39–1.18 in) broad. 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 centimetres (24 in) and have 2–25 capitula (flowerheads), each 1–2 1⁄2 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. The flowers are visited by various insects, including many species of bees, butterflies, pollinating flies. 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.
Cultivation and uses
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.
Orange hawkweed is currently the only hawkweed considered regionally invasive in areas of British Columbia, Canada. It is considered invasive in the East Kootenay, Central Kootenay, Columbia-Shuswap, Thompson-Nicola, Bulkley Nechako, and Cariboo Regional Districts. Invasive hawkweed can replace native vegetation in open, undisturbed natural areas such as meadows, reducing forage and threatening biodiversity. In Victoria and NSW, Australia, hawkweed species are declared as "State Prohibited Weeds" and are controlled under The Bio Security Act 2015. Currently there are several eradication programs operating (often employing volunteers) to locate, prevent the spread of and eradicate any Pilosella or Hieracium plants.
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- Schultz, FW; Schultz-Bipontinus, CH (1862). "Pilosella als eigene Gattum aufgestellt" [Pilosella is set up as a separate genus]. Flora (Separatabdruck). 45: 417–441.
- 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.
- Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.
- 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". Plant Biology. doi:10.1111/plb.12328.
- "Meadow Mat Wildflower Species: Fox and Cubs". Meadow Mat Wildflower Matting. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- "Invasive Species Council of BC". Retrieved 27 January 2019.
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