Maximilian’s sunflower

(Helianthus maximiliani)

Conservation Status
Maximilian’s sunflower
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  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

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Maximilian’s sunflower 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.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

24 to 79

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Yellow ray florets, yellow disk florets

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

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

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

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

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

June to October

 
     
 

Pests and Diseases

 
 

Sunflower bullet gall midge (Pilodiplosis helianthibulla) makes ¼ in diameter, almost globe-shaped galls on the leaves of plants in the genus Helianthus.

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  9/4/2020      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (dicots)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  
 

Family

Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Asteroideae  
  Supertribe Helianthodae  
  Tribe Heliantheae (sunflowers and allies)  
  Subtribe Helianthinae  
  Genus Helianthus (sunflower)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

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, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

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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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

Colony

  Maximilian’s sunflower    
       

Plant

  Maximilian’s sunflower   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
       
  Maximilian’s sunflower    
       

Late Spring

  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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Other Videos
 
  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.

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
         

Anna Gronseth Prairie

Antelope Valley SNA

Baker Park Reserve

Belgium Prairie

Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Blazing Star Prairie

Blue Mounds State Park

Bonanza Prairie SNA

Buffalo River State Park

Camden State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Highlands WMA, South Unit

Cedar Rock SNA

Chippewa Prairie

Clinton Prairie SNA

Compass Prairie SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Des Moines River SNA

Felton Prairie SNA, Bicentennial Unit

Felton Prairie SNA, Shrike Unit

Foxhome Prairie

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Jensen Memorial WMA

Joseph A. Tauer Prairie SNA

Kasota Prairie SNA

Kettledrummer Prairie

Kilen Woods State Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Louise State Park

Langhei Prairie SNA

Leif Mountain

Malmberg Prairie SNA

Maplewood State Park

Margherita Preserve-Audubon Prairie

Miller Prairie, West Unit

Minneopa State Park

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Neal WMA

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Hoffman Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Pavia Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Spieker Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Touch the Sky Prairie Unit

Old Mill State Park

Ordway Prairie

Otter Tail Prairie SNA

Pankratz Memorial Prairie, North Unit

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Crookston Prairie Unit

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Pembina Trail Unit

Plover Prairie, East Unit

Prairie Coteau SNA

Red Rock Prairie

Regal Meadow

Rice Lake State Park

Richard M. & Mathilde Rice Elliott SNA

Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Sandpiper Prairie SNA

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Sedan Brook SNA

Sheepberry Fen

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Spring Prairie Preserve

Staffanson Prairie

Thorson Prairie WMA

Town Hall Prairie

Tribute WMA

Twin Valley Prairie Addition

Twin Valley Prairie SNA

Twin Valley WMA

Two Rivers Aspen Prairie Parkland SNA

Tympanuchus Prairie

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Verlyn Marth Memorial Prairie SNA

Vermillion Highlands Research Recreation and WMA

Western Prairie SNA

Yellow Bank Hills SNA

Zimmerman Prairie

 

 

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