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Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp sunflower)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Helianthus angustifolius

Helianthus angustifolius L.

Swamp sunflower, Narrowleaf sunflower, Narrow-leaved sunflower

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Helianthus angustifolius var. planifolius

USDA Symbol: HEAN2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Narrowleaf Sunflower is a member of the family Asteraceae, which includes herbs, sometimes shrubs or vines, rarely trees, with simple or compound, alternate or opposite leaves. Flowers small, but organized into larger heads resembling a single, radially symmetrical flower cupped by a ring of green bracts. Flower-like heads: tiny, radially symmetrical central flowers form the disk; larger flowers around the edge; the rays, strap-shaped and resembling petals (however, all flowers in one head may be disk flowers or rays.)

In this large worldwide family there are about 920 genera and 19,000 species. Cosmos, Sunflower, Zinnia, Dahlia, and many others are grown as ornamentals. Lettuce, Sunflowers, and Artichokes provide food. Safflower oil is obtained from this family.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf: Dark Green
Flower: Flowers 2 inches
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Oct


USA: AL , AR , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Habitat: Flood plains, bottomland

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based


Use Ornamental: Bog or pond area, Blooms ornamental, Color
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation Material: Seeds

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1250 Collected 2008-11-05 in Anderson County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

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Research Literature

Reslit 248 - Physiological mechanisms of drought resistance in four native ornamental perennials (1994) D. S. Chapman and R. M. Auge
Reslit 391 - High genetic diversity in a rare and endangered sunflower as compared to a common congener (2006) J. R. Ellis, C. H. Pashley, J. M. Burke and D. E. ...
Reslit 917 - Effects of Fire on Plant Community Composition of North Florida Second Growth Pineland (1992) D. W. Mehlman
Reslit 1061 - EST databases as a source for molecular markers: Lessons from Helianthus (2006) C. H. Pashley, J. R. Ellis, D. E. McCauley and J. ...
Reslit 1261 - Oil concentration and fatty acid profile of wild Helianthus species from the southeastern United States (2010) G. J. Seiler, T. J. Gulya and G. Kong

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
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From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1986 VOL. 3, NO.1 - Library and Clearinghouse Serve the Nation, What is a Weed, More than Just a Pre...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Helianthus angustifolius in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Helianthus angustifolius in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Helianthus angustifolius


Record Modified: 2014-10-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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