Maximilian’s sunflower

(Helianthus maximilianii)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Maximilian’s sunflower

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

Midwest

UPL - Obligate upland

Northcentral & Northeast

UPL - Obligate upland

Nativity

Native

 
Occurrence

Common

 
Habitat

Moderately moist to dry. Prairies, railroads, roadsides, disturbed areas. Full sun. Sandy soil.

 
Flowering

June to October

     
Flower Color

Yellow ray florets, yellow disk florets

     
Height

24 to 79

     

Identification

This is an erect perennial forb that rises often on several stems from a short-creeping rhizome and fleshy roots. It often forms dense colonies. It can be from 24 to 120 tall, though in Minnesota it is it is usually no more than 72 in height. It sometimes forms colonies.

The stems are erect, stout, round, rough to the touch, and light green or sometimes reddish. They are not glaucous. They are moderately to densely covered with white, short, stiff, ascending hairs, especially near the top. They are mostly unbranched below the inflorescence.

There are usually more than 30 leaf nodes on the stem. There are no basal leaves. Lower stem leaves are opposite and short-stalked, middle and upper leaves are alternate and short-stalked or stalkless. All leaves are firm, lance-shaped or narrowly lance-shaped, 1½ to 11½ long and 3 16 to 23 16 wide, 7 to 20 times as long as wide. They taper at the base to a winged leaf stalk that is up to ¾ long, and taper to a sharp point at the tip. The leaf blade is folded horizontally along the midrib, rises at the point of attachment, then arches downward longitudinally. The upper and lower surfaces are grayish-green and rough to the touch. They are covered usually densely, sometimes moderately, with minute, white, appressed hairs. The margins are usually untoothed, sometimes with minute, widely-spaced teeth. The leaves have a prominent midvein and no prominent lateral veins.

The inflorescence is occasionally a solitary head at the end of the stem. More often, it is an unbranched clusters of 3 to 15 flower heads at the end of the stem along with solitary heads or small clusters rising from the upper leaf axils.

The flower heads are 1¾ to 4 wide on stalks that are to 4 long. There is a whorl of 30 to 40 bracts (involucre) in 2 or 3 overlapping series at the base of the flower head. The involucre is hemispheric in shape and to 1 in diameter. The bracts are loosely ascending, and are spreading or bent backward at the tip. They are narrowly lance-shaped to nearly linear, and taper to a sharply-pointed tip. They are moderately to densely covered on the back with short, white hairs, and have a dense fringe of short hairs along the margin, at least near the base.

There are 10 to 25 yellow ray florets and 75 or more yellow disk florets.

The fruit is an achene.

 
Similar
Species

See the Sunflowers ID Filter for a spreadsheet to aid identification of this and similar species.

The grayish-green foliage and narrow, single veined, arched, folded leaves distinguish this species from all other sunflowers in Minnesota.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Asteraceae (aster)

 

Subfamily:

Asteroideae

 

Supertribe:

Helianthodae

 

Tribe:

Heliantheae (sunflower)

 
Synonyms

Helianthus dalyi

 
Common
Names

Maximilian sunflower

Maximillian sunflower

Maximilian’s sunflower


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Achene

A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.

 

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

Glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 

Involucre

A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.

 

Node

The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

Winged leaf stalk

A leaf stalk with a leaf-like or membrane-like extension along both sides.

       

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Plant

  Maximilian’s sunflower   Maximilian’s sunflower
       
  Maximilian’s sunflower    
       

Flower Head

  Maximilian’s sunflower   Maximilian’s sunflower
       

Disk

  Maximilian’s sunflower    
       

Involucre

  Maximilian’s sunflower   Maximilian’s sunflower
       

Leaves

  Maximilian’s sunflower   Maximilian’s sunflower
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Helianthus maximiliani
Matt Lavin
 
  Helianthus maximiliani  
 
About

Native rhizomatous perennial, stems to 2 m tall, leaves characteristically arch downward and somewhat folded longitudinally, pappus comprising a couple of deciduous scales, achenes not strongly compressed, common in wet meadows and along stream banks.

 
     

 

slideshow

     

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  Minnesota Native Plant - Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus Maximiliani)
MNNativePlants
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 2, 2013

Todays native plant is the Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus Maximiliani). A large plant for wet prairies and near water features.

 
     

 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings

   

Anna Gronseth Prairie

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Bicentennial Unit
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West Unit

Minneopa State Park

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North Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR
Hoffman Unit
Touch the Sky Prairie Unit

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