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Hawkweed Daisy Mimics

Melbourne and Monash Universities commissioned Natural History Productions to supply hundreds of artificial hawkweed daisy flowers and leaf rosettes for field detection experiments. The experiments were devised by researchers to assist in the management, identification and eradication of noxious hawkweed species in the Victoria alpine region.

The species are Orange hawkweed Hieracium aurantiacum and the yellow flowered King devil hawkweed Hieracium praealtum and Mouse Ear Hawkweed Hieracium pilosella. 

The flowers themselves are no bigger than 20mm having approx. 50 petals. Buds are about 5mm in diameter and the branching stems are long and thin.The real daisy flower colour is extremely vibrant and the multiple fine flower petals are semi transluscent. The leaves all have very fine hairs covering the surface.

All mimics were to look realistic and to be weather proof, withstand weeks of exposure to sun, wind, rain. The model stems were also to be self-supporting to be pushed into the ground but not too rigid so to enable slight movement with the wind.

High in the alpine steeps on the first night of the field experiment, the location was hit by a blizzard with 100km winds and snow. The researches were very concerned as the Hawkweed mimics were all left pinned in the ground. When the sun rose and defrosted the grasslands all the Hawkweed daisy mimics were in perfect condition.