Western Isles Wildflowers
Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.
Fox and Cubs
Fox and Cubs is also known as grim-the-collier, orange hawkweed, and orange hawbit.
Grim-the-collier probably refers to the way the dark hairs on the plant gives it an appearance of being covered in coal dust.
Fox-and-cubs likely connects the colour and hairy nature of the plant with the smaller developing flower nestled around the mother.
As at 1991 there was one record of fox and cubs growing wild in the Western Isles (1942 in South Uist), it is described as a garden escape. It comes from the European continent.
Now fox and cubs can be found across Lewis, usually near gardens or in areas that have at some point been the site of the local rubbish skips. In the skip areas, gardeners who have decided they have sufficient in their garden have taken plants to dump, and decided to beautify the area around the skip instead. (We frequently have large clumps of monbretia growing in the same areas)
There is a similar kind of site at Breaclete on Great Bernera. Beside a loch a large clump of fox and cubs grows with other garden excess. At the Tarbert car park near the Soay Dyer's Studio in Harris the whole area of low cliff to the shore is now colonised by Fox and cubs in a this manner.
Debbie reported fox and cubs growing in Benbecula, and Frank in Leurbost in Lewis in June 2007.
Photography Frank Stark
Leurbost - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
12th June, 2007
Frank's web site of his nature photography