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Heliopsis helianthoides (Smooth oxeye)
Muller, Thomas L.

Heliopsis helianthoides

Heliopsis helianthoides (L.) Sweet

Smooth Oxeye, Oxeye Sunflower, False Sunflower

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


USDA Symbol: HEHE5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A common, 3-5 ft. perennial with stiff, branched stems; sunflower-like heads; and opposite, toothed leaves. Resembling a small version of a yellow sunflower with a cone-shaped central disc and opposite, toothed, simple leaves. The yellow flower heads are 2 in. across and have raised, yellow centers.

This plant looks like true sunflowers, which are in the genus Helianthus. Unlike sunflowers, its rays persist on the flower heads; the rays of sunflowers wither and fall away. It is placed in Heliopsis due to its cone-shaped central disc. Oxeye is hardy and easily grown as a showy garden perennial in dry sites and is a good choice for clay soil.


From the Image Gallery

61 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.
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


USA: AL , AR , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV
Canada: MB , ON , QC , SK
Native Distribution: S. Que. to FL, w. to s.e. B.C. & NM; naturalized northeastward
Native Habitat: Moist to dry, open woodlands; prairies; fields

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: An undemanding plant which provides excellent, mid-summer color. Eastern plants belong to var. helianthoides; those in the West are var. scabra.


Attracts: Hummingbirds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Supports Conservation Biological Control

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


Description: Easily propagated by seed in fall or early spring. Large clumps of ox-eye can be divided, but it is difficult.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

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:

Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
United States Botanic Garden - Washington, DC
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

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

Additional resources

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


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

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