Flower of the Day: Rattlesnake Weed


aka rattlesnake hawkweed
Hieracium venosum




This species of hawkweed is found in all US states east of Mississippi, as well as Quebec, and west of the Mississippi in Missouri and British Columbia. It’s endangered in Maine.

There are 37 native and 15 alien species of Heiracium in North America; at least one grows in every US state and Canadian province (except Nunavut).  Some of these are naturally occurring hybrids.  And several others are considered noxious weeds. And yet a few more are threatened or endangered.



This one grows up to 2 1/2 feet tall in dry, open woods and clearings, usually on rocky soils (or right on rocks).






It’s all over the Carderock area as well as the large bluff in the middle of the Billy Goat B trail.  It’s easy to distinguish from other hawkweeds: on the young plant, the basal leaves have a characteristic red venation, though that color fades as the plant ages.

20140408-rattlesnake weed foliage

Several sources state that the moniker “rattlesnake” comes from the fact that it shares habitat with actual rattlesnakes.


Flower of the Day: Hairy Hawkweed

aka queendevil; Hieracium gronovii; Asteraceae (aster family)


Unlike the big sunflowers and coneflowers I’ve posted about in the last several days, this little plant grows in the dry soils along the rocky bluffs well above the river.  Like its close relative rattlesnake weed (fotd 5/31), this composite flower is comprised only of rays.

The flowering stem of hairy hawkweed grows only one to three feet tall, and might show a few small leaves; otherwise the plant has only a very low basal rosette of leaves:


It’s found from Quebec and Maine (or not; it’s listed as possibly extirpated in Maine) south through Texas and Florida, but not in Vermont and New Hampshire.


By the way, I swear I did not re-use the picture from May 31! These two plants are in the same genus and the flowers are almost identical.  Indeed, when I first spotted this plant I thought I’d found an extremely late-blooming rattlesnake weed; I only realized it was something different when I looked at the basal rosette of leaves.