Eagle-eyes needed – Orange Hawkweed flowering in Snowy Monaro

Orange Hawkweed - Credit David Whelan - WikiMedia Commons.jpg

We’re into the middle of January, which means one of the highest risk emerging weeds in our region – Orange Hawkweed – is in the middle of its flowering season. Council is urging our community to keep their eyes peeled for the bright orange flower heads of this invasive priority weed.

Orange Hawkweed is highly invasive and grows in thick groupings of up to 3800 plants in one square metre. It poses a serious threat to biodiversity across conservation areas, native grasslands and agricultural land. Orange Hawkweed can be found in pastures, on roadsides and in gardens.

Orange Hawkweed has distinctive bright orange flowers with yellow centres and square-edge petals, and can flower from as early as November through to as late as April. With up to 30 flower heads growing from black-haired stems, it is distinct and easy to spot.

Orange Hawkweed is a serious weed in temperate and subalpine areas of the world. It spreads quickly and:

– Damages conservation lands- Reduces agricultural productivity

– Forms dense mats and outcompetes other species- Reduces the number of native plants

– Reduces habitat for native animals- The rosettes send out runners, rapidly expanding the clump size

In New South Wales it has been found in Kosciuszko National Park as well as private land in the Snowy Monaro. It grows readily both on mountain tops and in paddocks.

Throughout summer the plant bears bright orange flowers in tight clusters of four or more. There are black hairs on the stems and the leaves that enclose the base of the flower heads. This makes the warmer months our best chance to spot Orange Hawkweed, and report its location to Council and NSW DPI.

It is critical that if you think you’ve found Orange Hawkweed on your property, or anywhere else, that you do not attempt to remove or control the outbreak yourself. Please contact Council or NSW DPI immediately for advice and assistance by calling:

– Council on 1300 345 345, 24/7 phoneline- NSW Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244

In areas as large and sparsely populated as the Snowy Monaro, we rely on our community’s assistance to spot and report these emerging biosecurity threats. Thank you for doing your part to keep our region and our state safe from Orange Hawkweed.

Image credit: David Whelan, Wikimedia Commons.

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