Every year at around this time many of the open spaces at Oslicken Acres become awash in colour. Hieracium aurantiaca more commonly known as orange hawkweeed or devil’s paintbrush come into bloom and green fields become tinged with orange. Part of the daisy family devil’s paintbrush is a perennial plant that is often considered a weed or invasive species.
This bountiful flower grows abundantly in Northern Ontario and can often be found in meadows, ditches, and anywhere with lots of sunshine and grass. The name ‘devil’s paintbrush’ was apparently coined by farmers who see it as being troublesome and aggressive in nature. The plant also emits a substance that chokes out other plants from growing too closely – another strike in the invasive species box.
Despite this I think the devil’s paintbrush is beautiful. I love the look of the back field before the grass is cut and it is overgrown with the tiny orange flowers. We aren’t trying to grow anything other than grass in that area so the flower isn’t really an intrusion or bother. Andrew has often picked devil’s paintbrush, daises, buttercups and other wild flowers to make small flower arrangements. These arrangements are beautiful even if they are made up of what many people consider weeds. One man’s weed is another man’s bouquet.