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 5 or more 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. The bracts behind the flower are densely covered in glandular hairs.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves mostly surround the base of the plant, 2 to 5 inches long and to 1 inch wide, pointed or rounded at the tip, and toothless. 1 or 2 small leaves may also be alternately attached on the lower stem. The leaves and stem are both covered in long hairs.

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 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).

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County. Photos courtesy 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.

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