Orange hawkweed has been spotted in recent years along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. It is common in forestry cut blocks and is spreading rapidly down ATV trails and roads.
Hawkweed is an extremely invasive plant, with a triple-threat arsenal of reproductive methods. It is not only a prolific seed producer, but has an extensive fibrous root system and can produce stolons (short, strawberry-like runners). It adapts to many environments and can even grow happily under coniferous trees.
Orange hawkweed can be recognized by its fiery-orange flowers which have square-edged, notched petals. Leaves are elliptical in shape and mostly clustered at the base. Both leaves and stems are covered with bristly hairs. Other varieties of hawkweed can also have yellow or white flowers, but orange hawkweed is the only variety with just orange flowers.
Once established, this fast-spreading weed is very hard to control, so contact your local Agricultural Fieldman if you think you’ve spotted it.