Queen-Devil Hawkweed

I recently wrote an article about the spiky tree known as The Devil's Walkingstick.  The past few days I have noticed a yellow wildflower growing in my front yard- I was surprised to learn that its common name is the Queen-Devil Hawkweed.  Hmm, I wonder if I should be nervous about all of these satanically named plants growing in my yard.

The Queen Devil is a dainty dandelion-like wildflower that grows in the eastern portion of the United States.  It grows to a height of about 2 feet, and has large, thick and fuzzy basal type leaves growing at its base.  It is typically found in rocky, sandy soil.

Its scientific name is Hieracium gronovii.  According to a University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point website, Hieracium comes from the "classical name hierakion from ancient Greek hierax, "a hawk".  The Roman naturalist Pliny believed that hawks fed on this plant to strengthen their eyesight and thus it became the Greek and Latin name for this and similar plants, called hawkweed."  Other common names of this wildflower are Beaked Hawkweed, Hairy Hawkweed, and Cat Ear.

Unfortunately, much to my disappointment, I have been unable to find any reference as to how it got its name of Queen-Devil.   I can only guess that it got its name because it is listed as being a noxious weed in many places and it can be difficult to eradicate.

A few species of Hawkweeds have been used by the Iroquois tribe and the Rappahannock tribe as an antidiarrheal medicine.

2 comments:

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

I've seen these wildflowers, Daniel. Never thought to research them so I'm ever thankful that you do that for me. Hawkweed - I like that name much better, too!

Eve said...

Thanks Daniel! I'll be out looking for it for sure!