5 Kinds of ORANGE Wildflowers in California (w/Pics)

Did you find an ORANGE wildflower in California?

Types of orange wildflowers in California

 

If so, I’m sure you’re wondering what type of wildflower you found! Luckily, you can use this guide to help you identify it. 🙂

 

Please be aware that today I’m ONLY listing and focusing on the most common orange wildflowers. There are so many species, varieties, and subspecies that it would be impossible to name them all. But if you want to dive even deeper into the many orange wildflowers in California, check out this field guide!

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Today, we will look at 5 ORANGE wildflowers you can find in California.

 


#1. Orange Hawkweed

  • Hieracium aurantiacum (synonymous with Pilosella aurantiaca)

Also known as: 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 wildflowers in California

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-10
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 10-24 in (25-61 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer to Early Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade

 

Orange Hawkweed is a favorite of many gardeners for its coppery, orange-red to yellow flowers with black tips that attract many pollinators. Did you know the ancient Greeks believed that the milky sap of hawkweeds gave hawks their sharp eyesight?

 

This orange wildflower was introduced to California in the 1800s. Interestingly, research in 2009 revealed that most Orange Hawkweed populations collected in North America are genetic clones of one another. This reveals that they all came from the same original plant!

 

Beware! Orange Hawkweed grows aggressively fast!

 


#2. Butterfly Weed

  • Asclepias tuberosa

Also known as: Orange Milkweed, Butterfly Milkweed, Chieger Flower, and Chiggerflower

California orange wildflowers

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 18-36 in (46-91 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade

 

You will find Butterfly Weed in many home gardens. Look for a flat-topped, bright orange cluster of flowers. Butterflies and hummingbirds are particularly attracted to the Butterfly Weed because of its abundant nectar production.

 

Traditionally, Native Americans have chewed Butterfly Weed root to cure pleurisy, bronchitis, and other pulmonary ailments. When boiled into tea, this orange wildflower can effectively treat stomach issues. In fact, its genus name Asclepias is a reference to Asklepios – the Greek god of medicine.

 

If you’re planning to ingest this plant, please note that its root and sap are toxic to humans in large quantities. Proceed with caution!

 


#3. Blanket Flower

  • Gaillardia pulchella

Also known as: Indian Blanketflower, Beach Blanket-flower, Indian Blanket Flower, Firewheel, Sundance, Girasol Rojo, and Gaillardia

Types of orange wildflowers in California

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-11
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate Mature Size: 12-24 in (30-61cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer to Early Fall; Year-round in some areas
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Light Shade

 

Blanket Flower is a type of sunflower with an impressive display of red, orange, and yellow petals. Don’t be surprised if you spot many bees and birds where these flowers grow!

 

Many beekeepers use Blanket Flower in the production of honey. The honey made from this orange wildflower in California is mild, buttery, and amber-colored.

 

Goldfinches enjoy the seeds of Blanket Flower, so don’t forget to leave some seedheads after the flowering season!

 


#4. Tropical Milkweed

  • Asclepias curassavica

Also known as: Scarlet Milkweed, Bloodflower, Cotton Bush, Sunset Flower, Swallow Wort, Silkweed, Indian Root, Curassavian, Cancerillo (Spanish); Bloodflower, and Mexican Milkweed

Orange wildflowers in California

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 8b-11
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 24-48 in (61-122 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to Early Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade

 

Tropical milkweed’s distinctive blossom has five orangish-red petals that bed backward, with a yellow star-shaped crown. Although it isn’t a native orange wildflower, it has become invasive across much of the country.

 

Unfortunately, Tropical Milkweed planted in California may do more harm than good.

 

It carries a parasite that affects Monarch Butterflies called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha, or OE, which can cause defects in the wings of Monarchs. Since it doesn’t die back and can bloom late, the plant may also confuse Monarchs by signaling a breeding season when it’s time to migrate.

 

You can help reduce the spread of OE by cutting back Tropical Milkweed plants at the end of summer. Cut them all the way to the ground and dispose of the cuttings to get rid of the parasite.

 

To ensure you’re planting milkweed that will help your local ecosystem and attract native pollinators, always choose a native species!

 


#5. Orange Agoseris

  • Agoseris aurantiaca

Also known as: Orange-flowered False-dandelion and Mountain Dandelion

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: Unknown
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 12-36 in (30-91 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Late Summer to Early Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

The Orange Agoseris belongs to the Sunflower family, which includes asters, daisies, and sunflowers. Its coppery-orange flower heads can be used to make Dandelion beer or wine. You can even eat the leaves!

 

Once this orange wildflower in California has gone to seed, the flower head turns into a white, puffy ball. The wind carries each seed to create new plants.

 


Which of these orange wildflowers have you seen before in California?

 

Leave a comment below!

 

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