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Helianthus petiolaris (Prairie sunflower)
Northington, David K.

Helianthus petiolaris

Helianthus petiolaris Nutt.

Prairie Sunflower, Plains Sunflower

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


USDA Symbol: hepe

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

A showy, 3-6 ft. annual sunflower with many-branched, erect stems. Foliage is dark green. Flower heads grow terminally on 3-4 in. peduncles. Ray flowers are yellow; disc flowers are red-purple.

The seeds of this sunflower attract birds.


From the Image Gallery

19 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 6 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: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , LA , MA , ME , MI , MN , MO , MT , NC , ND , NE , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , SK
Native Distribution: Great Plains, s. to TX, AZ & adjacent Mex.; naturalized eastward & occasionally westward
Native Habitat: Open, sandy prairies, plains & disturbed areas

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Sandy soils.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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


Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0929B Collected Oct 25, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
NPSOT 0929C Collected Oct 25, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
NPSOT 0929A Collected Oct 25, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

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


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

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