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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Helianthus grosseserratus Martens)

Sawtooth sunflower

ASTER FAMILY (Compositae or Asteraceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A perennial herb 1-4 m. high. The coarse, woody, tuberous roots are in a tight cluster up to 5 cm. long and 1 cm. or more thick, with elongate rhizomes. The stems are essentially without hairs below the inflorescence. Basal leaves are absent or inconspicuous. Well-developed, alternate, stem leaves occur on the middle to upper stem. The sharply toothed, lanceolate leaves are densely hairy below and are often supported by winged leaf stalks. Both ray and disc flowers are present. The conspicuous, yellow ray flowers are deciduous and sterile. The disc flowers are perfect, fertile, and have yellow petals. In flower from July to October.

Only two of the native, perennial sunflowers of Minnesota and Wisconsin have alternate leaves: this one and giant sunflower (H. giganteus).

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Sawtooth sunflower is a common sunflower of wet to wet- mesic prairies and other inland fresh meadows. It also occurs along disturbed streambanks and in old fence rows.

SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Swink and Wilhelm (1994).

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