SNEEZEWEED SWAMP SUNFLOWER





(Helenium autumnale) Thistle family



Flower-heads - Bright yellow, to 2 in. across, numerous, borne on

long peduncles in corymb-like clusters; the rays 3 to 5 cleft,

and drooping around the yellow or yellowish-brown disk. Stem: 2

to 6 ft. tall, branched above. Leaves: Alternate, firm,

lance-shaped to oblong, toothed, seated on stem or the bases

slightly decurrent; bitter.

Preferred Habitat - Swamps, wet ground, banks of streams.

Flowering Season - August-October.

Distribution - Quebec to the Northwest Territory; southward to

Florida and Arizona.



September, which also brings out lively masses of the swamp

sunflower in the low-lying meadows, was appropriately called our

golden month by an English traveler who saw for the first time

the wonderful yellows in our autumn foliage, the surging seas of

goldenrod; the tall, showy sunflowers, ox-eyes, rudbeckias,

marigolds, and all the other glorious composites in Nature's

garden, as in men's, which copy the sun's resplendent disk and

rays to brighten with one final dazzling outburst the somber face

of the dying year.



To the swamp sunflowers honey-bees hasten for both nectar and

pollen, velvety bumblebees suck the sweets, leaf-cutter and mason

bees, wasps, some butterflies, flies, and beetles visit them

daily, for the round disks mature their perfect fertile florets

in succession. Since the drooping ray flowers, which are

pistillate only, are fertile too, there is no scarcity of seed

set, much to the farmer's dismay. Most cows know enough to

respect the bitter leaves' desire to be let alone; but many a

pail of milk has been spoiled by a mouthful of Helenium among the

herbage. Whoever cares to learn from experience why this was

called the sneezeweed, must take a whiff of snuff made of the

dried and powdered leaves.



The PURPLE-HEAD SNEEZEWEED (H. nudiflorum), its yellow rays

sometimes wanting, occurs in the South and West.





SNAKEHEAD TURTLEHEAD BALMONY SHELLFLOWER CODHEAD SOAPWORT BOUNCING BET HEDGE PINK BRUISEWORT OLD MAID'S PINK facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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