Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian Sunflower)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||sun; sandy soil,|
|Bloom season:||July - October|
|Plant height:||2 to 10 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: UPL NCNE: UPL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are at the top of the plant and at the end of stems that arise from leaf axils in the upper half of the plant. Individual flowers are 2 to 4 inches across with 15 to 30 yellow ray flowers (petals) and yellow disk flowers.
There are a few layers of bracts behind the flower; bracts are long, narrow and spreading, and covered in short, appressed hairs. Flower stalks are ½ to 4 inches long, often creating what looks like a long column of flowers at the top of the plant.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are up to 10 inches long and 2 inches wide, grayish green, folded up along the center vein and arching, with a pointed tip, tapering at the base and a short or no stalk. Leaves are mostly toothless but sometimes have small teeth; the texture is rough on both upper and lower surfaces. Attachment is mostly alternate but is opposite in the lower part of the plant. The stem is roughly hairy, especially near the top, and is green or purplish.
The center disk forms a head of dry seed, each about 1/8 inch long and without a tuft of hairs, but with 2 bristly scales.
Maximilian Sunflower most closely resembles Sawtooth Sunflower (Helianthus grosseserratus), but the latter has coarsely toothed leaves with longer stalks, and a hairless stem that often has a white bloom, where Maximilian Sunflower leaves are mostly toothless and its stem rough from short hairs.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Maximilian Sunflower plants
- more plants
- flowers arising from leaf axils
- roadside Maximilian Sunflower
- an atypical double flower
Photos by K. Chayka taken at Fort Snelling State Park, Hennepin County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?