From F. Edward Hulme's 'Familiar
Formerly known as Hieracium aurantiacum this 'Hawkweed' has been re-designated Pilosella aurantiaca, Gerard refers to it in his 'Herbal' in 1633 as 'Grimme the Collier'. It is a native of Northern Europe but differs from the ssp P.a.carpathicola which is indigenous in Southern England. This very attractive orrange flower is also known as 'Fox and Cubs'.
'Grim the Collier' has a spreading rootstock and is very invasive! The small basal rosettes of coarse hairy leaves produce 20cm stems (though in good coditions these may be up to 40cm) which carry the flowers of brilliant orange colour flushed with a hint of rose madder. The leaves, but more noticeably the flower stems and buds are covered with black hairs, and it is from this feature the common name is dervived.
By no means a dramatic plant 'Grim the Collier' was certainly grown in the very early English gardens, and carried on into the cottage gardens of later centuries. The plant is not widely grown in gardens now, but is such a persistant survivor that it is never likely to disappear! Once you have it in the garden you are unlikely to loose it! Our plants originally came from the garden of Col & Mrs Emerson in Limavady.
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