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July 2, 2008 / Bo Mackison

Devil’s Paintbrush

Orange Hawkweed

Orange Hawkweed is often referred to as Devil’s Paintbrush. It was named so by farmers, who see the weedy flower as being a troublesome beauty. It naturalized from Europe, probably in the 17th century mixed in with seed crops, and spreads quite aggressively and quickly, so it is considered ecologically invasive.

Ox Eye Daisies and Orange Hawkweed

It’s orange color, making it stand out against the many yellow flowers found blooming at this time, adds to the open prairie’s color, but also chokes out native plants that cannot compete. The Hawkweed secretes a toxic substance that inhibits many flowers from growing very near.

Obviously the equally invasive ox-eye daisy doesn’t mind too much. How come so many of the flowers I see seem to be of the invasive sort? I have noticed over the years – I’ve been cataloguing wildflowers in Wisconsin since 1977 – that I am seeing the native flowers, but many in lesser numbers.

Orange Hawkweed Buds

Here is the Orange Hawkweed in bud. It does make for a rather fancy weed. Its flowers are short lasting, each blossom lasting only one day.

These photos were taken along the shoreline of Green Bay in Peninsula State Park near Fish Creek, Wisconsin. The over-welcome visitors are being monitored by park rangers, and so far 3 flowers have made the removal list. (Garlic Mustard, Eurasian Honeysuckle and Phragmites)


  1. montucky / Jul 2 2008 7:21 pm

    It sure is a pretty blossom though! Great photos!

  2. mon@rch / Jul 2 2008 10:12 pm

    Amazing photos and those oranges are perfect!

  3. Chris Osborne / Jul 3 2008 7:41 am

    Like you said, the invasive ones are forcing the native ones out. It’s only natural that they’d be working toward being all you ever see.

  4. Gandalf / Jul 3 2008 8:10 am

    Too bad it’s an invasive; the colors are beautiful.

  5. Bernie Kasper / Jul 3 2008 1:50 pm

    Beautiful but toxic, kinda of a neat contrast !!

  6. Cyncknown / Aug 2 2008 9:43 pm

    It’s amazing

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