Helianthus maximilliani (Maximilian Sunflower)



USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 482.

Where Commonly Found:  Meadows, fields, disturbed soils of roadsides, CT, ME and MA.
How to Identify:
(For unfamiliar words: Wikipedia Glossary of Botanical Terms).
Go Botany Key to Helianthus maximiliani.
ID photos on Missouri Botanical Garden website.
Flower Type:  Daisy-like gold strap-like rays with tubular greenish disk flowers in the center.  Overall flower width is at least 1.5″.  Flower time is August – September.
Leaf Arrangement:  The lower leaves are often opposite while the majority of leaves are alternate with a single leave per node.
Leaf Type:
Narrowly lanceolate leaves, 2.75″ – 12″ long and up to 2″ across, light green with fine hairs.  Smooth margin or widely space small teeth.  Typically, the leaf folds upward along the central vein and curls downward from the stem with length. 
Seed Collection:  After petal-drop, the center flowers will darken and develop a tight cluster of seeds.  Will need to beat the birds to these ripe seed heads!  Cut the head, spread to dry for several days, thresh to separate the chaff and store in a cool, dry place.

Attracts:  Bees, Butterflies, Birds
Use:  Naturalizing
Light:  Full Sun
Hardiness Zone:  4 to 9   USDA Zone Map
Soils:  Dry to Moist
Height:  3′-10′
Notes:  Maximilian Sunflower is a towering, showy wildflower that will spread somewhat aggressively through rhizomes, so give ti room and many wildlife/pollinator species will thank you, especially the bees.
Native to much of the US, but not VT and NH:  Biota of North American Program (BONAP) – North America Plant Atlas (NAPA)

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