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Helianthus californicus (California sunflower)
Schwartzman, Steven

Helianthus californicus

Helianthus californicus DC.

California Sunflower

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


USDA Symbol: HECA5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The stout, erect stems of this California perennial rise 6-8 feet, or more, from a spreading root system. Each shoot bears narrowly oval, bright-green leaves. The top branches multiply into flower bearing stalks. Relatively small, yellow flowers occur in profuse numbers.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 11 feet tall, often less.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


Native Distribution: C. & s. CA
Native Habitat: Boggy meadow; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: California sunflowers may need staking to prevent them from falling over.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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


Description: Increase by root division or seed.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: OBL OBL
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:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-12-28
Research By: TWC Staff

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