Introduced. Perennial. Propagates by seeds and by stolons. Time of bloom: Early June to September. Seed-time: July to October. Range: Eastern provinces of Canada, New England, and Middle Atlantic States to Ohio; locally farther west. Habitat: Fields, meadows, pastures, roadsides, waste places.
Fig. 383. - Mouse-ear Hawkweed (Hieracium Pilosella). X 1/4.
One of the most pernicious weeds that have come to us from Europe, the range of which is widening every year. Grazing animals dislike and reject the plant even when dried in hay, for it is densely hairy in every part and its juices are acrid and bitter.
Stem six to eighteen inches tall, unbranched, and without leaves except an occasional short bract, very slender, erect, closely set with short, stiff, black hairs, which, in England, gave the weed its name of Grim the Collier. Leaves basal, clustered in rosette form about the stem, oblong to spatulate, obtuse, dark green, hairy on both sides; this flat, matted growth of leaves chokes out grass or other plants among which the weed is growing. Thrust out from among the leaves are usually several stolons, or runners, with young plants or buds at their tips. Flower-heads in a compact, corymbose cluster, on short, glandular-hairy peduncles, only a few blossoms open at one time, the rest of the bunch being composed of buds in various stages of growth. The heads are about an inch broad when fully open, flaming orange-red, the rays toothed at the tips; bracts of the involucre imbricated in two or three series, lance-shaped, hairy. Achenes oblong, dark brown, ten-ribbed, with pappus a single row of tawny, shining, bristlelike hairs, spread in funnel-form, making parachutes by which the wind distributes them far and wide. (Fig. 384.)
The roots of this weed are fibrous and spreading and near the surface; careful cultivation of the ground, particularly with hoed crops, destroys it. But the plant is often a pest of permanent grass lands where cultivation is not desirable; here the best treatment is a liberal application of dry salt, spread broadcast over the patches so thickly as to cover all the plants. In the experiments carried on at the Vermont Agricultural Experiment Station by Professor Jones, it was found that as large a quantity of salt as eighteen pounds to the square rod may be used without serious injury to the grass; indeed the grass soon becomes all the finer when relieved of its crowding competitor, for the weed so smothers and "runs out" the grass that it does much more harm than a temporary check in growth from the salt treatment.
Fig. 384. -Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum). X 1/6.
Plants in roadsides and waste places should be looked after and destroyed. If possible, the sentiment of an entire neighborhood should be aroused against Orange Hawkweed, for, with a plant of this quality, the careful farmer is largely at the mercy of any slovenly cultivator who chooses to be regardless of communal welfare.