meadow hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMON NAMES:
meadow hawkweed
field hawkweed

king devil

king-devil
yellow king-devil
yellow hawkweed

 

SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS:
Hieracium pratense Tausch

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.

 

TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of meadow

hawkweed is Hieracium caespitosum Dumort. Meadow hawkweed

may hybridize with other hawkweeds in the subgenus Pilosella (e.g.,

European hawkweed (Hieracium lactucella) and mouseear hawk-

weed (Hieracium pilosella)). Manyflower hawkweed (Hieracium

floribundum Wimmer & Grab) is apparently a cross between mead-

ow hawkweed and European hawkweed.

 

NATIVE STATUS: Introduced, United States and Canada.

 

GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

 

Habit: Meadow hawkweed is a rhizomatous and/or stoloniferous per-

ennial herb that exudes a milky sap when damaged. Leaves, stems, and

stolons are conspicuously hairy.
Meadow hawkweed stolons as long and leafy.

 

Leaves: Plants have a basal rosette and 10 to 30 flower stems that are

10 to 36 inches (25-91 cm) in height.

 

Flowers: A stem produces 5 to 30 yellow flowers arranged in a flat-

topped cluster.

 

Fruit/Seeds: Meadow hawkweed seeds are small achenes that are 1.5

to 2 mm long and weigh approximately 0.09 mg. Seeds have a tawny

tuft of bristles at one end.

 

Roots: Meadow hawkweed has a shallow, fibrous root system with

short and stout to elongated rhizomes.

 

REGENERATION PROCESS:  Meadow hawkweed reproduces by
seed and spreads vegetatively via adventitious root buds, stolons, and/

or rhizomes.

 

HABITAT TYPES: A summary of invasive hawkweeds reports that
sites most vulnerable to their establishment are disturbed areas, including
roadsides, mountain meadows, clearings in forest zones, cleared timber
units, permanent pastures, hayfields, and abandoned farmland. Floras
report meadow hawkweed in disturbed areas including fields, meadows,
pastures, clearings, roadsides and "waste" places. Floras also report mead-

ow hawkweed establishing in dry woods, dry woodland edges, thin wood-

lands, and streamsides.

 

SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Meadow hawkweed tolerates a range of
site characteristics. Meadow hawkweed prefers soils that are well drained,
coarse-textured, and moderately low in organic matter. An invasive plant
guide for the Upper Midwest reports that invasive hawkweeds prefer
sandy or gravelly soil, though the available literature documents a variety
of soil textures including gravelly silt loam with larger fragments of shale,
shallow rocky soil, and compacted gravelly soil. Regardless of soil type, it
has a strong preference for disturbed sites, particularly wet acidic soils. It
can, however, survive many low-productivity sites.

 

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Meadow hawkweed seeds germinate
in both spring and fall, but seedlings typically have a higher survival rate

in the spring. Stolons elongate throughout the summer and give rise to

new rosettes. Plants commonly flower by late June or July, though there

is some variability in flowering dates in different parts of meadow hawk-
weed's North American range.

 

GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Meadow hawkweed is native to north-
ern, central, and eastern Europe. It was likely introduced to the United
States in 1828 as an ornamental. As of 2010, meadow hawkweed occur-

red in two areas: from Georgia north through New England to Quebec

and west to Manitoba, and from Montana and Wyoming west to Oregon

and north to British Columbia.

 

SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.

 

IMPORTANCE AND USES: Some parts of meadow hawkweed may be
consumed by wildlife and livestock. In feeding trials, meadow hawkweed
was consumed by captive woodchucks. In Ontario, meadow hawkweed
seedling emergence was not impacted by the presence of cages to prevent
seed predation, suggesting that seed predators did not feed on meadow
hawkweed seed. In old fields in west-central New York, meadow hawk-

weed experienced little insect herbivory, though it was listed as a food

plant for aphids (Aphididae) in New Jersey and a host plant of plant bugs

(Miridae) in West Virginia. Bees in Maryland visited meadow hawkweed.

 

Meadow hawkweed is palatable to livestock, including domestic sheep

and cattle. The small, prostrate leaves may be more easily consumed by

the small mouths of domestic sheep and domestic goats than cattle. In a

riparian area in southern New Hampshire, hatchling wood turtles hid un-

der the basal rosettes of meadow hawkweed growing on riparian sand-
pits.

 

Exudates from invasive hawkweed leaves or stems may cause congestive

and respiratory conditions and skin rashes in sensitive people.

 

 

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