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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Helianthus maximiliani Schrad.
Maximilian sunflower, Max sunflower
USDA Symbol: HEMA2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
The several tall, leafy, unbranched stems of michaelmas-daisy or maximilian sunflower grow to a height of 3-10 ft. Leaves are long and narrow, up to 10 inches near the bottom and as short as 2 inches near the top. They are alternate, coarse and hairy, slightly wavy on the edges, often folded lengthwise, slightly toothed and very pointed. Numerous yellow flower heads grow on their own stalks terminally and from leaf axils. The flower head is up to 5 inches across, with 15-19 ray flowers, deeply veined and slightly toothed on the tip. The center is 1 inch or more across, green to dark brown. These perennial plants can form large colonies. It was named for the naturalist Prince Maximilian, who led an expedition into the American West in the 1830s.
A native prairie perennial, this sunflower is a desirable range plant, eaten by many livestock. A heavy crop of seeds is produced, thus it is also a valuable plant for wildlife. It was named for the naturalist Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, Germany, who led an expedition into the American West in the 1830s. Another bluegrass prairie species, Willow-leaved Sunflower (H. salicifolius), has numerous long, narrow, drooping leaves covered with soft hairs and a purple-brown central disk; it is typical of rocky outcrops with heavy soil.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Size Notes:
4-6 feet. Flower:
Flowers 3 inches
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Brown
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
AL , AR , CA , CO , CT , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , WA , WI , WV , WY Canada: BC
, SK Native Distribution:
MN to Sask., s. to MO, OK & TX; naturalized eastward & occasionally westward Native Habitat:
Rich prairies; ditches USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry , Moist Soil Description:
Prefers moist clay-like soil, but tolerant of a wide range of soils including Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay. Conditions Comments:
this sunflower is a desirable range plant, eaten by many livestock. A heavy crop of seeds is produced, thus it is also a valuable plant for wildlife. Numerous yellow flower heads grow on their its stalk.
Showy, Attractive, Color, Pocket prairie, Perennial
garden, Wildflower meadow Use Wildlife:
This species is palatable to deer and numerous species of birds who eat the seeds. It is also a useful wildlife cover plant. Nectar-Bees, Nectar-Butterflies Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds Nectar Source:
Seeds , Softwood Cuttings Description:
Excellent germination occurs with seeds that have been refrigerated over winter. Stem
cuttings can be taken before flowering, but the easiest method of increase in to divide the clump in early spring, replant and water immediately. Seed Collection:
Nutlets usually mature 2-3 weeks after flowering. To beat finched to the seeds, secure a small bag around seeds heads after the flowers fade. Air-dry collected seed heads, separate nutlets from chaff, and store in sealed, refrigerated containers. Seed Treatment:
A long cold period is a pre-germination requirement. Seeding should be sparse to allow adequate space for growth. Commercially Avail:
Fertile soil often produces lush growth and weak stems, which are likely to fall over. Stake plants if stems begin to arch before flowering. Plants will improve in appearance if watered during periods of drought.
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0282
Collected Oct 9 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth WhiteNPSOT 0589
Collected Jul 6, 1990 in Comal County by Harry Cliffe
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-629
Collected 2007-11-05 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes
(2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest
(1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region
(2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
(1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide
(1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife
(1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas
(2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country
(1989) Enquist, M.
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Record Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff