Hieracium species are stoloniferous (meaning new plants can form from runners), low growing perennial herbs that originate from Eurasia. They grow in degraded short tussock grassland on poorly vegetated slopes, in gravel and on river terraces.
Hieracium species spread by wind-dispersed seed and via stolons. They displace desirable pasture species and native tussock species and will become the dominant species in low fertility pasture areas.
Infestations of Hieracium exist in the drier areas of the North Island and throughout the South Island. The most extensive infestations are in the South Island's high country. In Marlborough, Hieracium is a serious problem in the Upper Awatere and the Upper Clarence catchments.