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Helianthus maximiliani Schrad.

Maximilian's sunflower

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Where native and non-native distributions co-occur in a county, only the native distribution is shown.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Maximilian's sunflower is probably native to midcontinental prairies, but has spread along roads and railways all over North America. Maximilian's sunflower is named after Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied (1782 - 1867), who journeyed in the Great Plains and studied their natural history and anthropology. He published the two-volume "Travels in the Interior of North America" in 1839-41.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
Leaf type
leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
  • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
  • opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower type in flower heads
the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
Ray flower color
yellow
Tuft or plume on fruit
there is no plume, or the plume is made up of scales, awns, a crown, or a rim
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
70–200 mm
Flower head width
At least 40 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bract cycle number
    • there are three or more cycles of bracts
    • there are two main cycles of bracts
    Bract margins
    • there are few or no fine hairs along the bract margins
    • there are fine hairs along the bract margins
    Bract outer side hair type
    the bracts are hairy, with simple hairs on their outer surface
    Bract outer side hairs
    the bracts are hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract shape
    the main bracts are lanceolate (widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip)
    Bract spines
    the bracts have no spines
    Bract tip orientation
    the bracts are pressed against the plant, or spreading out at the tips
    Bract tip shape
    the tips of the bracts are acuminate (tapered to a narrow point)
    Bracts
    the bracts in separate cycles are similar or gradually changing from the outer to inner cycles
    Disk flower color
    yellow
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    the disk flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Disk width
    15–25 mm
    Flower head number
    each flowering stem has four or more flower heads on it
    Flower head outer flowers
    at the outer edge of the flower head, each flower has a single enlarged lobe or strap
    Flower head platform
    the base has papery scales on it
    Flower head profile
    the disk is rounded across the top
    Flower head width
    At least 40 mm
    Flower type in flower heads
    the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
    Height of flower head base
    20–30 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Inflorescence shape
    the inflorescence is not flat-topped but appears rounded, with some flower heads distinctly higher than others
    Ovary beak
    there is no beak on the ovary
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary is compressed (flattened)
    Ovary hairs
    • the ovary has hairs on it
    • the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary profile
    in profile, the ovary is another shape
    Ray flower color
    yellow
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    there are neither carpels nor stamens in the ray flowers
    Ray flowers
    • 11-15
    • 16-25
    • 6-10
    Ray length
    30–50 mm
    Reproductive system
    some of the flowers on the plant have only carpels or stamens, while others have both carpels and stamens
    Style branch number
    the style has two branches
    Width of flower head base
    15–25 mm
  • Fruits or seeds
    Number of pappus parts
    2
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    3–5 mm
    Seed hair tuft bases
    NA
    Seed hair tuft color
    NA
    Seed hair tuft details
    NA
    Seed hair tuft length
    1–5 mm
    Seed hair tuft tips
    NA
    Seed hairs uniform
    NA
    Seed tuft scale number
    2–6
    Seed tuft type
    • the pappus is made of flat scales that are not split or frayed at the tips
    • the pappus is made of stiff, tapering bristles
    Top of disk flower ovary
    NA
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    there is no plume, or the plume is made up of scales, awns, a crown, or a rim
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant has one or more free-standing stems
    Plant lifespan
    the plant is perennial, it shows evidence of previous year's leaves, stems or stem bases
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    • the plant has a caudex (the root mass is firm and hardened at the top)
    • the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
    • there is a thickened taproot on the plant
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Leaf arrangement
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    • opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct petiole
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade has simple hairs with no glands, and not tangled or wooly
    Leaf blade length
    70–200 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade tip
    the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base towards the tip
    Leaf blade width
    10–80 mm
    Leaf disposition
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Stem internode hair direction
    the hairs are pressed flat against the plant, pointing either towards the plant's tip or towards it's base
    Stem internode hair type
    the hairs on the stem are plain, without glands or branches, and not tangled
    Stem internode hairs
    the stem has hairs between the nodes

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Sometimes Confused With

Helianthus giganteus

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Helianthus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

8.  Helianthus maximiliani Schrad. E

Maximilian’s sunflower. CT, MA, ME. Roadsides, fields, disturbed soil.

6×8. Helianthus grosseserratus × Helianthus maximiliani Helianthus ×‌intermedius R.W. Long is a very rare sunflower hybrid known from MA, ME. It has sparsely strigose stems, petioles 5–15 mm long, and flat leaf blades that are strongly scabrous adaxially.

H. salicifolius A. Dietr. Helianthus ×‌kellermanii Britt. is a rare and local hybrid known from MA, ME. It is similar to H. grosseserratus, differing primarily in the linear 
to narrow-lanceolate principal leaf blades that are 10–20 mm wide and taper to 
the petiole and lobes of the disk corollas that are white-pubescent on the abaxial surface (vs. principal leaf blades lanceolate to narrow-ovate, 12–90 mm wide, tapering 
or rounded to the petiole, and disk corolla lobes glabrous or nearly so).