Hieracium aurantiacum (Orange Hawkweed)

Plant Info
Also known as: Devil's Paintbrush
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
  • Invasive - ERADICATE!
  • Noxious Weed
Habitat:part shade, sun; dry fields, along roads, disturbed soil
Bloom season:June - October
Plant height:6 to 24 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] Compact cluster of 3 to 7+ dandelion-like flowers on short hairy stalks at the top of the plant. Flowers are ¾ to 1 inch across, deep red-orange to orange to yellow-orange, often fading to yellow in the center.

[photo of phyllaries] The bracts (phyllaries) surrounding the base of the flower are covered in long, spreading hairs mixed with shorter, black, glandular hairs.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are mostly basal, sometimes with 1 or 2 leaves on the lower stem, 2 to 5+ inches long, 3/8 to ~1 1/3 inch (1 to 3.5 cm) wide, elliptic to somewhat spatula-shaped, pointed or blunt at the tip, narrowed at the base, short-stalked to stalkless. Edges are toothless and surfaces are sparsely to moderately covered in long, spreading hairs mixed with short, star-shaped hairs.

[photo of rhizome] Stems are usually single from the base, erect and covered in long, spreading hairs, the upper stem mixed with dark, glandular hairs. Plants can form large colonies from elongating underground stems (rhizomes).

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a dark seed with a tuft of white hair to carry it off in the wind.


Orange Hawkweed, known in some references as Pilosella aurantiaca, is highly invasive, the largest infestations being in the counties around Duluth, where it first arrived in Minnesota. It has since been spreading south and west, and is likely very under-reported in the state. Large mono-cultures can be seen along roadsides into Aitkin county, at least. When not in bloom it resembles Meadow Hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum), and often is found growing with it and its cousin Glaucous King-devil (Hieracium piloselloides), all of which are invasive weeds.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka, Cass, Chisago, Lake and Pine counties. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Pine counties


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: PETE - hillman
on: 2010-06-16 19:00:26

A field recently sprung up due to lack of mowing off cty 8 south of MN 27 about 6 blocks west side of road.

Posted by: Sharon - Grand Portage Band Reservation
on: 2010-07-25 12:30:38

Near the National Monument. I thought the bloom was very interesting and dramatic in color shading.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2010-07-26 06:49:22

Yes, Sharon, that is the case with many invasive species. Non-native plants are brought here and cultivated because of some value to humans, often their aesthetics. Then they escape into the wild and proliferate uncontrolled due to lack of natural predators. In some spots of NE MN the masses of orange hawkweed seemingly go on forever. Pretty maybe, but devastating to the natural order of things. :-(

Posted by: Donna - Two Harbors
on: 2011-05-29 20:46:14

In a field just outside of town. I have been photographing it every day. It's lovely.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2011-05-29 20:48:01

Donna, I will just say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can't see something like orange hawkweed as anything but an evil weed when I see it take over entire fields. :( We spotted a few plants in one of our favorite natural areas today. How long before it takes over, I can't say, but I do know that it will spread, and rapidly.

Posted by: Victoria - Shakopee, Scott County, Minnesota
on: 2011-06-09 14:49:00

Just found a new small patch of these guys in Shakopee. Yanking them out for sure!!!

Posted by: Gary - St Joseph Mn
on: 2011-06-13 21:58:38

I have had, for years a few plants in my yard, I suppose they were controlled by mowing. I am trying to convert the edge of my yard to native prairie and now I have a lot of it. Still not as big of problem as the bluegrass but still a problem. Sounds like I need some Round Up. Gary

Posted by: Nia - Silverwood Park, New Brighton
on: 2011-06-13 23:52:49

Photographed it, thinking it was Indian Paintbrush. Fall 2010.

Posted by: Roberta - Makinen MN
on: 2011-06-26 01:05:11

Field of it at the Eli Wirtanen Historic Finnish Farmstead. I took lots of pictures because there were also a lot of butterflies in that field. Then I go to your site for an ID of the flowers. Kind of disappointed now :(

Posted by: Micah - NE Minnesota
on: 2011-08-05 02:07:48

Found lots and lots of Orange Hawkweed in NE Minnesota this June, 2011, all along the Superior shore line and inland.

Posted by: Jill - Itasca County, Hwy 1 east of Effie, MN
on: 2011-08-09 09:31:20

Large stand along Highway 1 east of Effie photographed in late June.

Posted by: S. Pulju - Lake County
on: 2011-08-17 17:04:10

This is a horrible weed that has created a mat covering the lawn area of my property in Lake County. Mowing has actually encouraged its spread and it has crowded out the wild strawberries that once thrived there. A tip given to me by Michael Lynch the Invasive Species Coordinator of Cook County was to use fertilizer since this plant likes the thinner poor soils of North East Minnesota. I have also seen it growing on a friend's property in Columbus (Anoka Co).

Posted by: Susan - Southwest Minneapolis
on: 2012-06-07 16:31:27

This stuff just popped up in our front lawn in SW Mpls. I'd not seen it before and came to look it up. It is pretty, but it won't be for long now that I know its status. Thanks for the tips for eradication.

Posted by: Jennifer - Otter Tail County
on: 2012-06-20 08:33:15

Started noticing these plants all over my father's lake property the last few years but we did not know what they were until I came to your website today. Love the colors; I even tried transplanting this in my garden at home but thank goodness it died! Did not realize they were an invasive noxious weed!

Posted by: Brett - Otsego
on: 2013-07-06 13:57:01

Saw this today along the road in Rum River State Forest (South unit). Only a couple of plants, took some seeds. Would have pulled them had I known. Destroying seeds.

Posted by: Janet - East Bethel, northern Anoka County
on: 2014-06-17 13:35:58

We have a small area of our large, rather wild yard (about an acre) that has several hawkweed plants. They are attractive, and do not seem to be spreading, so I was surprised to see that they are invasive.

Posted by: Anna - Hinckley
on: 2014-06-22 06:15:57

The grass hay fields are completely orange this year!

Posted by: Joyce - Solway
on: 2014-06-25 17:58:21

This came in my yard in 2013. Only have a few this year. We now l have another yellow type.

Posted by: Linda - Andover in northern Anoka County
on: 2014-06-28 09:52:19

We have been trying to establish a natural prairie area on several areas of our property and just discovered the orange hawkweed growing in a small area. We thought it was beautiful and were excited that some wildflowers were establishing themselves. So disappointed!

Posted by: Deb - Bemidji
on: 2014-07-24 12:43:53

We have some growing in our mowed "lawn" area on our land just north of Solway. Killing some of the other species out. How do we get rid of it?!?!

Posted by: Janet - Lake Vermilion, St. Louis County
on: 2014-08-18 15:19:39

These are growing in open woods on our property located on a small island on Lake Vermilion.

Posted by: Sheila - Crescent Lake Campground
on: 2015-04-29 13:17:31

It's next to the bathrooms and campsites and Crescent Lake on the north shore!

Posted by: dale - princeton, mn
on: 2015-06-21 16:30:47

found it along our dirt road blooming today 6/20/16 in front of our lilacs about a dozen plants.

Posted by: Christine - Parkers Prairie, MN Ottertail county
on: 2015-06-24 10:09:51

Found this in my garden. Thought it was pretty until I found it here. I will be getting rid of it right away!

Posted by: kristine
on: 2015-06-27 13:50:55

I saw this east of grand rapids. this year I see it in bemidji. but doesn't it have some use?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-07-05 10:40:15

The non-native, invasive hawkweeds have no use, at least none that haven't been filled by native species for thousands of years. The invasive hawkweeds degrade natural habitats and decrease biodiversity. That's not beneficial to any of our native insects or other wildlife.

Posted by: Carol - Kanabec and Pine county line
on: 2015-07-21 23:17:22

We just moved onto our property last fall and noticed these beautiful noxious weed early this summer. I just love the colors but I am disappointed that I can't even find a way to use these beauties as a beneficial holistic plant. I just pray that they don't take over our entire yard!

Posted by: Annie - Hibbing, MN. St. Louis County
on: 2016-03-22 00:21:53

Growing in my yard.

Posted by: Patricia - Finlayson/Sandstone
on: 2016-06-18 15:16:13

This wildflower is rife in our area, west of Sandstone. Seems more prolific this year, especially, as are the oxeye daisies.

Posted by: rebecca - scandia, mn
on: 2016-06-19 21:25:26

Was really excited to see these beautiful flowers in areas around my pond, but just discovered it's an invasive weed. How disappointing... Also saw an abundance of them along our MS150 bike route last weekend traveling south from Duluth.

Posted by: Chuk - Gull Lake
on: 2016-06-22 07:03:09

I was getting ready to transplant these little beauties from the lake side of the house to an area set aside for wild flowers, but thanks to you I'm going out to start the mower. Thanks!

Posted by: Sarah - Becker County
on: 2016-06-23 20:06:42

Found on Rock Lake shoreline in Becker County, MN on 6/23/16.

Posted by: Bruce - Class county just west of Bena, MN
on: 2016-06-26 14:30:26

Found a little bunch of these flowers ..... Maybe 30 of them in the group

Posted by: Keith N - Milaca
on: 2017-06-07 06:26:18

Filling my lawn

Posted by: Tom G - Brook Park Kanabec County
on: 2017-06-14 17:12:11

I have a field approximately 350' x 150' filling up with the orange flowers. Any suggestions on how to get rid of it without breaking the bank?

Posted by: Rainie - Elk River
on: 2017-06-17 09:13:14

Found today in the backyard

Posted by: LN - Rothsay
on: 2017-06-19 19:23:50

I found 10 plants blooming in my backyard this evening. Is it easy to eliminate?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2017-06-19 20:29:31

LN, pull them out now. Never let them go to seed.

Posted by: Jerry k - Between Nary and Guthrie
on: 2017-06-22 19:20:04

We have both the orange hawk weed and the yellow. Is it to late to apply chemical since the plants have already flowered?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2017-06-23 19:58:19

Jerry, do whatever you have to to prevent these plants from going to seed!

Posted by: wolfgang - pine city
on: 2017-07-08 21:35:50

I've had acres of these little beauties thinking they were Indian Paintbrush. At times they will appear as an orange carpet raised above the lawn undulating with a slight breeze, which is a cool sight to see. But, I now realize (thanks to your webpage) that they are an invasive species, and will "stem" their propagation next year. This year I had about a half acre of these wild beauties.

Posted by: Nikki S - Alexandria
on: 2017-08-31 01:42:50

I seen this in long prairie mn. It is actually a large patch behind my grandparents house. Is this plant native or non native? I am having trouble telling it has oval leave like basil herb plants at the base. It's tall one stem with multiple flower bud heads at top and fuzzy stem. It look like the invasive kind of plant.

Posted by: Matt A - Sandstone
on: 2017-09-09 14:07:07

They were all along the side of highway 35 just south of Sandstone.

Posted by: Nora B - Along mountain bike trail near Hawk Ridge Observatory Duluth
on: 2017-11-04 21:38:37

Saw several individual plants of orange hawkweed, Oct. 16 2017 while visiting the area. All were sighted upslope of the trail. Given its agressiveness, there are probably lots more.

Posted by: Michelle - Roberts wi.
on: 2018-07-10 09:56:28

The beautiful orange and yellow color caught my eye in the middle of my yard. Looked them up on Google. Soo sad to learn what they truly are.

Posted by: Wayne - Big Lake
on: 2018-08-06 10:38:08

Found in my large yard in Orock Township. Took pictures of it to see if it was evasive or not. Now I'll have to eradicate this plant like a couple other ones I've found over the years.

Posted by: Jackie - Pequot Lakes
on: 2019-06-08 15:47:14

First found a couple of plants along the north side, shaded foundation of our newly constructed home. Thinking how beautiful they are I kept begging my husband not to weed whack them, along with the little wild ferns. He would do so anyway, lol. I checked and every year the flowers cone back. Fast forward sixteen years later and I am pretty sure I have found quite a few more plants spread throughout the backyard. Also, what we call Creeping Charlie has totally taken over the back and side yard. I see that you are suggesting to pull it out by hand and then fertilize? That is a lot of pulling! I briefly spoke to a gentleman in passing. He said something about planting buckwheat, or something like it to kill off the Creeping Charlie. Is there anything to that notion?

Posted by: Teresa - Oak Grove (Northern Anoka Cnty)
on: 2019-06-14 16:44:00

Finally able to mow our lawn in over 2 weeks. While mowing today I came across the 6' patch of orange flowers and took pictures to identify later. As they were in the middle of the acre I mow, I mowed them over, along with my creeping charlie that's tucked in 20' patches around the yard now. If I don't mind them being in the yard, and I keep mowing them down, I assume I can just leave them be? We have free range chickens and we don't use chemicals on the lawn.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2019-06-14 17:51:55

Teresa, they can still flower and set seed after being mowed over so they will likely still spread.

Posted by: rebecca - Chengwatana Township - Pine County
on: 2019-06-17 07:59:18

Dense population on property edge where neighbor scraped the vegetation off in a misguided effort to control poison ivy. Seems as if they are edging the poison ivy out...

Posted by: Julie - SE Crow Wing County - Brainerd
on: 2019-06-17 18:55:59

Found the first of it in our field in 2016 SE of Brainerd. Found it while walking our fields with a NRSC agent. He didn't seem to know what it was and definitely did not know it was noxious and that it spread so quickly. If he had told me to get rid of it back then I probably would not have it everywhere now. We are going to use a herbicide to kill it, hopefully once and for all, but probably going to be more of a maintenance issue now. Seven acres of hay fields and a yard full of it.

Posted by: Lauren Byrd - Maple Grove, Twin Cities
on: 2019-06-17 19:21:33

These popped up in around some grassy shrubs in our yard. I thought they were pretty, but seeing how fast they've multipled, I was nervous they were a noxious weed. Glad I looked into it. They are being pulled up immediately!

Posted by: Lianne - Garrison MN, Hwy 10 Borden Lake Rd
on: 2019-06-23 10:00:23

Large cluster of this plant didn't realize they were invasive.

Posted by: Lois Jenkins - Extreme northern Hubbard County
on: 2019-06-24 16:58:11

Appeared for first time today in an area that was logged off in 2012. Very pretty. Are they pollinator friendly?

Posted by: Leila Kliner - Clearwater County, Nora township. 2miles south state Hwy 2
on: 2019-06-27 14:36:33

On the ten Acres of Larry Kliner's "Woodland Acres" They are through out our woods both the yellow and orange variety.

Posted by: Megan - Benton County
on: 2019-07-08 11:16:28

We have this growing in the ditches along County Road 43 in Benton County. It is creeping up driveways and making its way into lawns. Spreads very quickly and aggressively.

Posted by: Rhonda - Just north of Milaca
on: 2019-07-24 07:25:54

Just found a couple plants yesterday on property I bought NW of Milaca. I thought they were pretty, until I found out what they are! I will be pulling them.

Posted by: Jennifer - Inver Grove Heights
on: 2020-06-09 09:31:14

Found some growing near one of the pump houses (maintained by the city) during a walk.

Posted by: keith r hacker - SCANDIA
on: 2020-06-10 20:57:33

Just noticed them in my grove of black walnuts as I was mowing. Stopped and took some pictures, they certainly are pretty. First time I've even seen them. Initially felt a bit sad that I then mowed them down. Probably will hit the area with Round Up when I see them return, and hope the grass spreads back into the treated area.

Posted by: Jill - Wright County
on: 2020-06-23 07:13:46

Started growing in my yard, they spread fast! When I found out what it was, round-up did the trick!

Posted by: Mary - Maplewood
on: 2020-07-28 14:49:28

I found a large section of grass taken over by these. I thought they were another flower.... after it rained I pulled them all out by the roots. now I am on the lookout and dig them right away. we are in Maplewood - Ramsey County. thank you for this great information. Mary

Posted by: Lucinda Lundell - Isanti County
on: 2020-08-02 18:53:11

Saw some in a pasture 8 miles west of city of Isanti, south of CR5 about 1/2 mile, east side of Zuni Street NW.

Posted by: Chelsey - Crow Wing County
on: 2021-06-11 21:05:38

We have several patches of this flower in our yard. I'm so sad it's invasive and should be eradicated! I loved it until then. :(

Posted by: Serena Andersen - Orr MN
on: 2021-06-12 10:31:14

We have lots and lots of these in our yard. We bought the house last July (2020). I thought these were a plant my called "paintbrushes" when I was a kid (45 years ago). How do we get rid of them? Is there a native plant that looks similar? I am just wondering if what my mom called paintbrushes were actually this invasive species. I must say that I love the color of them and the way they look but if this is an invasive plant, I would prefer to get rid of them.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-06-12 15:23:04

Serena, what is commonly called paintbrush is a native, Castilleja coccinea. Orange hawkweed bears little resemblance other than the flower color. There are also yellow hawkweeds in northern Minnesota that are also invasive. You would do well to be rid of all of them. Dandelion spray would work.

Posted by: Amy Wasson - Silver Bay
on: 2021-06-19 15:07:31

Bought a house with it throughout the yard. We've seen a lot of it in town. Just now learned it is invasive, so we will have to figure out how to get rid of it

Posted by: Dan Burns - Princeton
on: 2021-08-05 11:59:51

I just saw a few specimens in the Isanti County Park, NW of Cambridge.

Posted by: Brooke - Ely/Burntside Lake
on: 2021-08-21 13:05:35

Spotted growing along some grassier shoreline on north Burntside Lake.

Posted by: Sharon Schmidt - Savage
on: 2021-09-22 15:09:07

A friend gave it to me. She had brought it from an hour staight north of the Cities. I noticed pretty quickly that it jumped into my grass. I have kept an eye on it and give it only a small patch. Cut the seeds and put them in a bag and then the trash.

Posted by: Nik S - Pokegama Lake--Pine City
on: 2022-04-28 20:27:07

All over our back lawn and in many of the neighbors'. Only in the driest sunniest highest elevated portion of the lawn though. Nowhere else.

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-04-29 06:52:53

Nik, the "highest elevated portion of the lawn" is a perfect spot for seeds to blow away to other locations. Don't fool yourself that it's confined to your yard.

Posted by: Cynthia Larson - Fosston
on: 2022-06-20 21:24:35

Spotted two patches in my lawn kept thinking they were so pretty I decided to look into what they were. I'm glad I did my digging and now I'm going to be digging them up!

Posted by: SJR - Ponsford
on: 2022-06-22 03:48:13

What's the best way to get rid of a small patch that just appeared this year? In flowering stage.

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-06-22 05:49:40

SJR, do whatever you must to prevent it from going to seed. What I do with garlic mustard is pull off any flowers then uproot the plant and compost the stems. If you're not opposed to chemicals, dandelion spray should also work.

Posted by: K - Kelly Lake
on: 2022-07-03 15:04:17

Grow abundantly in my yard. I absolutely love them. I have no idea how to go about eradicating them as I'm not able enough to pull each and every one up out of my large yard, nor will I use any chemicals on my soil. Will simply cutting the yard before they can flower be enough?

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-07-03 18:51:27

K, you will be surprised how short plants can be and still put out flowers. I've seen the dreaded spotted knapweed mowed to the ground but a 2-inch stem still flowered. Mowing might push it back but won't stop it.

Posted by: Meg Herbst - Benton County
on: 2023-05-22 14:24:41

I first noticed this invader a few years ago, thanks in large part I think to snowmobilers spreading it around. It quickly spread up our driveway and is now into the hay field along our driveway. It has completely taken over entire portions of our property. I hate everything about it, and I don't know how anyone can find it beautiful.

Posted by: AMR - Scandia
on: 2023-06-01 20:54:40

I saw many of these plants in the restored prairie at Gammelgarden Museum. Not sure how it got there since the prairie was professionally prepped and planted.

Posted by: Becky - Hinckley
on: 2023-06-09 11:25:11

Just moved up from the Cities a year ago - there were a few of these in the yard last year, now LOTS! Wanted to leave yard "natural" but changing my mind about this plant. We'll try fertilizing.

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2023-06-09 13:00:50

Becky, be a bit cautious about leaving your yard "natural", as it is more likely to fill with weeds and invasive species like hawkweeds (both orange and yellow). Fertilizing won't do anything to reduce their spread, but may increase it instead. Your neighbors likely won't appreciate it and your city may have ordinances that don't look favorably upon it, either.

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