Mouseear Hawkweed

Biological Name:

Mouseear-Hawkweed – Hieracium pilosella

Natural Habitat:

Mouseear-Hawkweed is a type of flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It can be found in open, rocky areas and along the edges of forests.


Mouseear-hawkweed is a type of flowering plant that is commonly found in fields and other grassy areas. It is a member of the Asteraceae family which also includes plants such as daisies and sunflowers. Mouseear-hawkweed is an annual or perennial plant that produces small yellow or orange flowers and clusters of seeds. The plant is often used as a cover crop to improve soil health and suppress weeds. It is also known for its ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions including wet or dry soils. In some areas mouseear-hawkweed is considered a weed because of its ability to invade cultivated areas and cause allergies and other health problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is mouse ear hawkweed invasive?
A: Mouse ear hawkweed infests forests, pastures, meadows, wetlands and suburban lawns and is especially invasive on infertile, shallow or coarse soils in regions of relatively high rainfall. It does not tolerate shade. Facts: This noxious weed out competes pasture and native plants.

Q: Why is it called hawkweed?
A: Scientific Classification: Hieracium aurantiacum L. – Pliny, the Roman naturalist, believed that hawks fed on the plant to strengthen their eyesight and thus it became the Greek and Latin name for this and similar plants, called hawkweed.

Q: Why is hawkweed called Fox and Cubs?
A: The common name of fox-and-cubs is due to the appearance of the open flowers (the fox) beside the flower buds (the cubs).

Q: Do bees like hawkweed?
A: The flowers are orange, almost red, which is virtually invisible to bees, yet they also reflect ultraviolet light, increasing their conspicuousness to pollinators. The flowers are visited by various insects, including many species of bees, butterflies, pollinating flies.

Q: Do pollinators like hawkweed?
A: Mouse-ear hawkweed is a source of umbelliferon (a compound used as a sunscreen agent), helps prevent erosion and is a food source for pollinators.

Q: Is hawkweed the same as Fox and Cubs?
A: Fox and Cubs has many other common names including Tawny Hawkweed, Devil’s Paintbrush Grim-the-collier (because the black hairs are reminiscent of a miner covered in colliery grime), and Orange Hawkbit. It is alleged that hawks eat these wildflowers and that this is the reason for their superb eyesight.

Q: Is hawkweed perennial?
A: Orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) is a perennial herbaceous plant, 10–24 inches high. Produces a milky sap.

Q: Is hawkweed an invasive species?
A: A European species, common hawkweed is invasive in northwestern and northeastern North America, especially in woodlands, fields and roadsides. Like other hawkweed species, this plant is highly invasive and will spread over large areas if not controlled.

Q: What are the worst invasive plants?
A: Kudzu. 1/16. Commonly seen vining throughout the southeastern United States, the perennial kudzu originally hails from Asia. … English Ivy. 2/16. … Wisteria. 3/16. … Barberry. 4/16. … Butterfly Bush. 5/16. … Purple Loosestrife. 6/16. … Norway Maple. 7/16. … Japanese Honeysuckle. 8/16.

Q: How tall does hawkweed grow?
A: Orange hawkweed grows from 30 -60 cm in height and has bright orange-red flowers clustered at the top. Plants have bristly-hairy leaves and stems, with few to no leaves found on the stem. Stems contain a milky fluid when broken open.

Q: What is hawkweed good for?
A: Overview. Mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella) is a plant. The flowering parts have been used to make medicine. People use mouse-ear hawkweed for flatulence, wound healing, and other purposes, but there is no good scientific evidence to support any use.

Q: Should I pull up horseweed?
A: Hand-pull mature plants before they flower, so they cannot drop seeds and reproduce. Cultivation may be used to uproot plants under one foot tall. Mowing slows horseweed growth but must be done frequently to stop regrowth and seed production.

Q: Should I remove horseweed from my garden?
A: Horseweed is a prolific seed producer, but the seeds are not long-lived, so plowing when the plant is young will help to eliminate seeds. However, once plants are established, this practice is discouraged due to the opportunity for new weed seed emergence upon soil disturbance.

Q: Is hawkweed related to dandelion?
A: Closely related to sunflowers & dandelions, Hawk Weed belongs to the second largest family of flowers. This perennial weed, which continues to regrow over a few seasons, is often seen in lawns, fields, pastures, & along roadsides.

Q: How do you get rid of hawkweed on mouse ears?
A: Spot spraying with triclopyr (example: Ortho Weed B Gon “Chickweed, Clover and Oxalis Killer”) is effective in controlling mouseear hawkweed. Triclopyr is a selective herbicide that will not kill grass when used according to label instructions, but may damage or kill other broadleaf plants.

Q: Do bees like orange hawkweed?
A: Orange hawkweed, Hieracium aurantiacum appears somewhat unexciting to the human eye, but its ultraviolet extravaganza is an irresistible invitation to bees.

Q: Why is orange hawkweed invasive?
A: Originally from Europe, Orange hawkweed can create dense mats that crowd out native plants. Hawkweeds spread quickly through above ground runners, horizontal roots, and seeds. Agriculture and recreational activities, wildlife, and wind can help the spread of hawkweeds. One plant can produce hundreds of seeds.

Q: Should I remove hairy Bittercress?
A: Hairy bittercress is best managed mechanically when it is young. Remove it by hand, hoe or tillage in early fall or early spring before it sets seed. If plants are flowering, composting is discouraged as seeds may develop.

Q: Is hawkbit the same as hawkweed?
A: The name of the genus, Hieracium, derived from the Greek, hieras (a hawk), refers to an ancient belief that hawks ate these plants to sharpen their sight, a belief also indicated in the popular English names, Hawkweed and Hawkbit.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.