Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Pilosella aurantiaca (fox and cublets, tawny hawkweed)

Failed garden lighting
      My wife was keen to get some lighting in the garden and came across something which seemed ideal: it was a string of glass globes each with a small bulb enclosed, and powered by a small battery in a water-tight control case. The whole thing was supposed to be weather-tight and it worked perfectly for the whole of last summer, creating a halo of light around the arch I fixed it on. However the winter rain brought into question the meaning of 'weather tight', because each globe contained a pool of water when I came to look at it. At first, this seemed to offer interesting possibilities when I thought about it: why not inhabit each globe aquarium with some sort of miniature fish, so that giant piscatorial shadows moved round the garden when I switched on. If wouldn't matter if the water were to short out the bulbs because the resulting electrical hiatus would simply result in fried fish ready to supplement barbecue festivities. This theory bit the dust when the whole damn thing refused to work at all.The only benefactors of this failure were the theoretical fish.

      Fox and cublets' ( Pilosella aurantiaca) is the name my wildflower book gives a plant which moved in with us a year ago. This is related to hawkweed and dandelion, so I was chancing my luck when I decided to let it be and see what happened, the invasive potential of anything close to dandelion being worrying. It just got a lot more worrying when I read up about it in order to write this: apparently it can propagate itself vegetively by rhizomes as well as by seed and pundits strongly recommend that you don't grow it in the garden. With this in mind, I'm going to allow it to gift me the benefit of its flowers, before uprooting it and embarking on some less worrying challenge,

Fox and cublets behind emerging Agapanthus
      Another name for fox and cublets is tawny hawkweed,  It was introduced to Britain and Ireland from alpine regions in Central and Southern Europe in the early part of the seventeenth century and has widely naturalised since then.
Fox and cublets (Pilosella aurantiaca)


  1. Hi John I was so pleased to see your latest post show up. Your blog and your little anecdotes always brighten up my day. Beautiful photographs.

  2. I am happy seeing your post. Great photos. Thanks for sharing! Good luck!