Sunday, 17 August 2008


The last week or so has been wet, so the lawn has not been cut for ages. Yesterday was the second dry day we have had in succession, so the lawns were cut. Before the mower came out I photographed this flower on the front lawn. It is an Orange Hawkweed Pilosella aurantiacum which is also known as "Fox and Cubs" due to the multiple inflorescence. Just occasionally there is a single flower, as seen below.
This plant is a rare addition to lawns in clay soils. It is found infrequently in sandy or loamy soils as it is often out-competed by other species. The plant is a Northern European native species and where it has escaped into the wild in parts of the USA it has run rampant, earning it the name "Devils Paintbrush"
A more common plant on my lawn is the Mouse-ear Hawkweed Pilosella officinarum which is found in profusion across the front and side lawns. It is displaced in the top and back lawns by Ranunculus - buttercup. This plant will often flower in the lawns, but it is not able to seed since it is mown before the seed heads mature. Most of the coverage has spread by runners, which makes the plants clones of each other, and they all look the same.

For the plant purist, most of the hawkweeds are placed in the genus Heiracium.

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