Pilosella or Hieracium species.
Hawkweed is a State prohibited weed
State prohibited weeds are the highest category of declared noxious weeds in Victoria.
By definition they are either not yet in Victoria, or are here in small numbers, where their eradication is still possible.
All sightings should be reported to Agriculture Victoria immediately by calling 136 186 or emailing email@example.com.
Why is it important to report hawkweed sightings to Agriculture Victoria?
Hawkweeds are perennial herbs native to Europe. They are aggressive spreading weeds in the USA, Britain, Canada and New Zealand. Hawkweeds could cause significant harm to ecosystems in Victoria's high country, through restricting the growth of neighbouring plants by releasing chemicals into the soil. This results in native plants being displaced with a dense mat or monoculture of hawkweeds.
How to identify hawkweed
Hawkweeds are small herbs with daisy-like flowers.
Hawkweeds have very hairy green leaves up to 150 mm long arranged in a rosette close to the ground.
The stems contain milky sap and are covered in short, stiff hairy bristles.
There are three species in Victoria:
Orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum or Pilosella aurantiacum) has bright orange flowers with square ended petals, that are up to 15 mm across and arranged in clusters of five per stem.
King devil hawkweed (Hieracium praealtum or Pilosella praealtum) has yellow flowers with square ended petals, that are 20 mm across and occur in clusters of up to 25 flower heads per stem.
Mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella or Pilosella officinarum) has a yellow flower with square ended petals of 30 mm across, with a solitary flower on each stem.
What should you do if you find hawkweed?
If you think you have seen hawkweed, please contact Agriculture Victoria immediately on 136 186 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please do not attempt to treat or dispose of this weed yourself. Agriculture Victoria will treat, remove and dispose of hawkweed safely, at no cost to the land owner.
There are hundreds of hawkweed species worldwide, but none are native to Australia. Each of the three hawkweed species known to occur in Victoria has naturalised to a limited extent in Victoria's high country. Hawkweeds have also been found and removed from gardens around Victoria as a legacy of trade, prior to their declaration as a State prohibited weed in 2003.
Hawkweeds can grow over a wide range of climates and can tolerate various habitat conditions – gravel or acidic soils, full sun, part shade, frost or snow. Hawkweeds can spread quickly by seeds that are carried in the wind, they also spread from stolons (above ground runners) and root fragments.It is important to note that orange, dandelion-type flowers are very unusual, especially clustered together in flower heads.
However there are still some species that look similar to hawkweeds. Smooth hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris) is similar, but the stems are erect and smooth, unlike hawkweed species. Cat's ear or flatweed (Hypochaeris radicata) usually only has a single flower per stalk. The common dandelion can also be mistaken as hawkweed, however the common dandelion is hairless and has a single flower per stalk.
The scientific name for hawkweeds has been changed from Hieracium to Pilosella. Agriculture Victoria continues to refer to Hieracium as this is the name listed in the legislation.