Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday - Canada Hawkweed

Last year I began participation in Native Seed Gardeners, an organization that uses home-gardener-volunteers to grow native plants. The purpose is seed collection and use of the seeds in restoration of conservation lands. We're growing purple milkweed, cream baptisia, and Canada hawkweed for the project. Just this morning I mailed this year's seed harvest - a packet of hawkweed seeds.

So far only the hawkweed has bloomed. Purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens,) is little, but still has big fall color.

Canada hawkweed (Hieracium canadense,) bloomed its first season, and bloomed off and on again this year from late June through September. I'm sure I must have a few, but since I couldn't locate any photos of the hawkweed in bloom, here's what it looks like now.

Canada Hawkweed is in the aster family. It looks like a tall dandelion, and can be anywhere from about two to five feet tall. This year It grew to almost three feet, and bloomed well in a spot that gets about three hours of filtered sunlight a day. It's a sunny, cheerful bloom. It's not a plant I would have thought to add to the garden if not for participating in the Seed Gardeners project.

Here's a Canada hawkweed photo found on Wikipedia:

While it's not my favorite native in our garden, I'm happy to grow it for the Seed Gardeners project. It's a good feeling, knowing the seeds help restore native habitat in our area.

For more Wildflower posts, please visit Gail at Clay and Limestone; lover of native plants, garden blogger extraordinaire, and our host for Wildflower Wednesday.


  1. I am blowing kisses at you for your kind words! I am so excited to learn about this program~and Linda, I've wanted to grow hawkweed forever~It was mentioned in a mystery book I read in highschool just a few years ago~LOL~xxgail

  2. That's a great project! The Canada Hawkweed looks similar to a flower that grows in meadows in my country. But I don't know how it is called here.
    A nice flower, but in my garden I've got only yellow roses but no other yellow plants... somehow strange :o).
    Take care

  3. Linda, this is such a great project. I will be anxious to see how they are doing next year.


  4. Great project! I'm growing the spotted leaf variety - listed as H. nigram - everyone loves it until it starts to bloom - just like that other pretty yellow flower we find in our lawns.

  5. Aw, thank you Gail!

    I'm thrilled to be participating in this project. I may not have been aware of it if not for becoming a Master Gardener last year.

    LOL - you were in high school just a few years ago just like me! Ever since I read Anne of Green Gables (just a few years ago,) I've wanted to grow Queen Anne's lace, so I can definitely relate to your penchant for hawkweed. xoxo

    I think so too Alex! There are also native European hawkweeds - maybe that's what you have. Sometimes they're orange too. I have always been very fond of yellow roses.

    It will be the third season for these plants next year Eileen. I hope they all make it through the winter again, and hope the baptisia and asclepias bloom next year.

    Thank you Barbara. I didn't realize there was a spotted-leafed hawkweed.

    Here, any pretty yellow flowers in the lawn are quickly dispatched with a weeding tool by the Lawn Man. He isn't fond of them. I'm really glad he digs them out instead of spraying or dropping chemicals. Since he handles the lawn and I take care of the garden, I just enjoy them in other people's lawns.

  6. I hadn't heard of this plant before...thanks for sharing! And the seed project is really interesting!

  7. Anonymous8:05 PM

    Cool beans.

    Ever since you originally blogged about it I signed up, but I haven't heard back from them. There's an empty lot where one of the plants on their list grow like mad in the spring & summer. If they ever get back to me I could probably collect a couple of pounds of it for them.

  8. The great thing about Wildflower Wednesday is that every month I learn something new--the hawkweed is a plant I wasn't familiar with. The Native Seed organization sounds like such a great idea. I'd love to be able to grow some compass plants; I think the seeds I picked up at Chibot got lost, unfortunately.

  9. I've seen a lot of hawkweed Rose, but didn't know what they were until last year when I received the NSG plants.

    I'm sorry they haven't gotten back to MBT. The big downside of the project is having to go all the way to Barrington to get the plants. I was fortunate that a Master Gardener volunteered to pick them up for all of us other MGs who were participating. I only had to get to her house a couple of miles away. We all agreed it would be a terrible waste of gas for us all to go up there separately. Kinda woulda defeated the purpose of doing something good for the environment. . .

    I agree Rose. We're all broadening our native plant and wildflower knowledge thanks to Gail.

    Sorry your seeds got lost.

    Mine were a jumbled mess in my pocket - who knows what they were! But, I planted them anyway - we'll see what happens. Hopefully if anything grows I'll be able, at some point to tell what it is so I'll know where to put it. :)

  10. Ah yes, hawkweed, the plant that isn't dandelion. remember it! My purple milkweed seemed to take a while to get going as well. This sounds like such a fun project! If you're looking for fall foliage color in natives, try tall coreopsis--the foliage is dark vibrant red. :)

  11. I've thought about giving coreopsis a try here Monica, wonder how it would do with so little sun though. I could try starting some seeds since it's such a low-risk way to experiment.

    I like Arkansas amsonia for its fall color too. Actually, the chartreuse milkweed, red coreopsis, and thready yellow amsonia fall foliage would look pretty good together!


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