Helianthus strumosus L.

pale-leaved sunflower

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

The Iroquois used a decoction of the roots of pale-leaved sunflower to treat intestinal worms.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forests, meadows and fields, shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf type
leaves are simple (i.e., 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
70–180 mm
Disk flower number
21-50
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bases of bract appendages
    NA
    Bract margins
    there are fine hairs along the bract margins
    Bract outer side hairs
    • the bracts are hairy on their outer surfaces
    • the bracts are not hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract shape
    the main bracts are lanceolate (widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip)
    Bract tip orientation
    the bracts are pressed against the plant, or spreading out at the tips
    Bract tip shape
    • the tips of the bracts acute (have a sharp point)
    • the tips of the bracts are acuminate (tapered to a narrow point)
    Bract width
    1.5–3
    Disk flower color
    yellow
    Disk flower lobe number
    5
    Disk flower number
    21-50
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    the disk flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Disk width
    12–25 mm
    Flower head number
    • each flowering stem has four or more flower heads on it
    • each flowering stem has only one to three 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 shape
    • the flower head is hemispherical (like the bottom half of a sphere)
    • the sides of the flower head are roughly parallel, like a cylinder
    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
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Number of bracts at flower head base
    18–25
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary is compressed (flattened)
    Ovary hair type
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary hairs
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Peduncle length
    10–90 mm
    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
    12–30 mm
    Width of flower head base
    8–20 mm
  • Fruits or seeds
    Number of pappus parts
    2
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    4–5.5 mm
    Seed hair tuft bases
    NA
    Seed hair tuft color
    NA
    Seed hair tuft details
    NA
    Seed hair tuft length
    1–2.5 mm
    Seed hair tuft tips
    NA
    Seed hairs uniform
    NA
    Seed tuft scale number
    2
    Seed tuft type
    the pappus is made of flat scales that are not split or frayed at the tips
    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
  • Glands or sap
    Bract resin
    the bracts have no resin or resin glands
    Leaf blade glands
    the leaf blades have glandular (translucent) dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • 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 rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    • the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    • the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    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
    • the base of the leaf blade is rounded
    • the base of the leaf blade is truncate (ends abruptly in a more or less straight line as though cut off)
    • the base of the leaf is cordate (heart-shaped) or sagittate (arrow-shaped)
    Leaf blade bloom
    • the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    • there is a noticeable powdery or waxy bloom on the underside of the leaf
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade length
    70–180 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    there is no noticeable color variation on the upper surface of the leaf
    Leaf blade tip
    the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has three main veins running from the base towards the tip
    Leaf blade width
    20–100 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 stalk length
    5–30 mm
    Leaf tip extension
    NA
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaflet number
    0
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    At least 0
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor
  • 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 bloom
    • the stem has a powdery or waxy film on it that can be rubbed away
    • there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem internode hair length
    At least 0 mm
    Stem internode hair type
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem internode hairs
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem wings
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

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

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Rhode Island
concern (code: C)
Vermont
rare to uncommon (S-rank: S2S3), threatened (code: T)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Helianthus decapetalus:
involucral bracts at base of flower head spreading, much longer than the disk of the flower head and leaf stalks 15-60 mm long (vs. H. strumosus, with the involucral bracts at base of flower head ascending, not exceeding the disk of the flower head and leaf stalks 5-30 mm long).

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Helianthus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

14.  Helianthus strumosus L. N

pale-leaved sunflower. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Deciduous forests, riverbanks, fields, roadsides, open rights-of-way.