Orange Hawkweed is the only orange colored hawkweed in Oregon. This aggressive groundcover plant is of local concern because it spreads rapidly, grows well at higher elevations, and releases allelopathic compounds in to the soil. Usually found in sunny areas, it is somewhat shade tolerant. It spreads by seeds, stolons and rhizomes.
Easily recognized by its showy red-orange flowers (1/2 – 1 inch wide), this perennial has lance-shaped, hairy leaves that form a basal rosette. The erect, bristly stem grows up to twelve inches tall, producing 5 to 30 flowers at the tip. Each plant can have 10 – 30 flowering stems.
The multiple flowers per stem can be used to distinguish hawkweeds from the many look-alike plants. Occasionally there are one or two small leaves on the stem. The entire plant contains a milky juice. The root system is fibrous.
After starting to flower, each plant produces several white-fuzzy stolons (runners) that extend 4 to 12 inches and form the next generation of plants. Hawkweed thrives in disturbed areas such as roadsides, gravel pits and pastures. It can also invade meadows and forested areas and is well-adapted to life at higher elevations.
Additional information is available from the Oregon Department of Agriculture.