If you’re exploring the vibrant landscapes of Utah and come across an orange wildflower, you may wonder what type of flower it is. Luckily, this guide is here to help you identify four of the most common orange wildflowers found in Utah. From the striking Orange Hawkweed with its coppery petals to the Butterfly Weed known for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, these wildflowers add a burst of color to the natural beauty of Utah. However, it’s important to note that while some of these flowers may be enticing, like the Tropical Milkweed, they can have negative effects on the environment and wildlife. So, take a closer look at these four orange wildflowers and discover the wonders of Utah’s flora.
Orange Hawkweed also goes by the names Orange Hawkbit, Orange Aster, Devil’s Paintbrush, King Devil Hawkweed, Devil’s Weed, Tawny Hawkweed, Red Daisy Flameweed, Grim-the-collier, Fox and Cubs.
Orange Hawkweed is a perennial plant that thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-10. It can reach a height of 10-24 inches and blooms from summer to early fall. This wildflower prefers full sun or partial shade.
Orange Hawkweed is known for its vibrant coppery, orange-red to yellow flowers with black tips. The flowers are eye-catching and attract many pollinators, making it a favorite of gardeners. The milky sap of hawkweeds was believed by the ancient Greeks to provide hawks with their sharp eyesight.
Orange Hawkweed was introduced to Utah in the 1800s. Interestingly, research conducted in 2009 revealed that most Orange Hawkweed populations in North America are genetic clones of one another, indicating that they all originated from the same plant.
Orange Hawkweed is a fast-growing plant that can be quite aggressive. Gardeners should be cautious when planting it, as it can quickly spread and become difficult to control.
Butterfly Weed is also known as Orange Milkweed, Butterfly Milkweed, Chieger Flower, and Chiggerflower.
Butterfly Weed is a perennial plant that can thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9. It grows to a height of 18-36 inches and blooms during the summer. This wildflower prefers full sun or partial shade.
Butterfly Weed is characterized by its flat-topped cluster of bright orange flowers. It is a popular choice for home gardens due to its ability to attract butterflies and hummingbirds with its abundant nectar production.
Native Americans traditionally chewed Butterfly Weed root to treat pleurisy, bronchitis, and other pulmonary ailments. Boiling the plant into tea can also effectively treat stomach issues. The genus name Asclepias references Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine.
While Butterfly Weed has medicinal uses, it is important to note that its root and sap are toxic to humans in large quantities. Care should be taken when ingesting this plant.
Tropical Milkweed is also known as Scarlet Milkweed, Bloodflower, Cotton Bush, Sunset Flower, Swallow Wort, Silkweed, Indian Root, Curassavian, Cancerillo (Spanish), Bloodflower, and Mexican Milkweed.
Tropical Milkweed is a perennial plant that thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 8b-11. It can grow to a height of 24-48 inches and blooms from late spring to early fall. This wildflower prefers full sun or partial shade.
Tropical Milkweed has distinctive orangish-red petals that bend backward, forming a yellow star-shaped crown. Although it is not a native orange wildflower, it has become invasive across much of the country.
Impact on Monarch Butterflies
One of the concerning aspects of Tropical Milkweed is its impact on Monarch Butterflies. It carries a parasite called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE), which can cause defects in the wings of Monarchs. Additionally, the plant’s late blooming can confuse Monarchs and disrupt their migration patterns.
Preventing Spread of OE
To minimize the spread of OE, it is recommended to cut back Tropical Milkweed plants at the end of summer, removing them all the way to the ground and disposing of the cuttings. Choosing native milkweed species is also crucial to supporting local ecosystems and attracting native pollinators.
Orange Agoseris is also known as Orange-flowered False-dandelion and Mountain Dandelion.
The growing information for Orange Agoseris is unknown.
Orange Agoseris belongs to the Sunflower family and features coppery-orange flower heads. The flowers can be used to make Dandelion beer or wine, and the leaves are edible.
The flowers of Orange Agoseris can be used to create beverages such as Dandelion beer or wine. The leaves are also edible and can be incorporated into various culinary dishes.
Once Orange Agoseris has gone to seed, the flower head transforms into a white, puffy ball. The wind carries each seed to new locations, allowing for the plant’s reproduction.
In conclusion, Utah is home to a variety of beautiful orange wildflowers. From the vibrant Orange Hawkweed to the beloved Butterfly Weed, each of these wildflowers brings unique characteristics and benefits. However, it is essential to be mindful of their growth habits and potential impacts, such as the aggressive spread of Orange Hawkweed and the potential harm Tropical Milkweed can cause to Monarch Butterflies. By understanding these wildflowers and taking appropriate measures, gardeners and nature enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty they bring while ensuring the health of local ecosystems and wildlife.