Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Purple-headed Sneezeweed (Helenium flexuosum)
- Family: Aster (Asteraceae)
- Flowering: May-August.
- Field Marks: Helenium flexuosum is
distinguished by its yellow heads with a purple center and its
- Habitat: Roadside ditches, wet meadows, fallow
- Habit: Perennial herb with fibrous roots.
- Stems: Erect, branched or unbranched, smooth or
hairy, winged, up to 3 feet tall.
- Leaves: Alternate and basal, simple, the basal
elliptic, pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, usually
sparsely toothed, smooth or hairy, up to 3 inches long, up to 1
inch broad; the stem leaves similar but smaller.
- Flowers: Many crowded into a head with several heads
per plant, each head up to 2 inches across, subtended by narrow,
pointed, hairy bracts; the outer flowers yellow and ray-like,
often pointing downward; the inner flowers purple, tubular,
forming a round disk up to 1/2 inch across.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: Some yellow, 3-notched at the tip, ray-like,
15-25 in number; others purple, 5, united to form a short tube.
- Stamens: 5.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior, hairy.
- Fruits: Achenes hairy, with a few scale-like teeth at
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by wildlife.
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