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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday~Nothing To Sneeze About

Helenium autumnale or Common Sneezeweed

There's way too much laughing at the gardener already about this post! I've been bamboozled by a misidentified plant. A little voice said~"Check this plant out before you post!" I listen to those little voices and verified. Good thing or my wildflower loving face would be red! I so wanted to share my big find of the summer, which wasn't a big find after all!

Last winter I shared Frostweed in a post, Have You Seen The Frost Flowers. Ever since I discovered that White Crownbeard has a yellow flowered cousin, v alternifolia, I've been on the lookout for it. I thought I found it earlier this spring at my favorite native plant nursery. Labels can be wrong! Never, ever, ever make assumptions! I was lead astray by those winged stems! Sneezeweed has winged stems, too.

Winged stems on Helen's Flower

As soon as the flower opened, I knew they were Helen's Flower, Helenium autumnale, an entirely different plant. That's not to say that sneezeweed isn't a delightful flower. It really is~

Just look at the lovely yellow face~ How could you find fault with a sweet smiling flower, that's attractive to honeybees, Minor bees, bumble bees, Leaf Cutting bees, wasps, butterflies, bee flies and some beetles. And, for all you gardeners troubled by dear deer~ It's deer proof~ all parts of it being poisonous, so deer aren't supposed to browse it!


Look at that sweet face

I'm hopeful that sneezeweed will find a place among the rough and tumble wildflowers that make their home at Clay and Limestone. I am charmed by this member of the sunflower family with its sweet daisy flowers with toothed drooping rays and that large central disk. They prefer a moist, rich soil, but they've survived all summer here with inconsistent rain and very high temperatures. Almost any of us can grow Sneezeweed~it's native to most of North America~except Alaska. As a native plant lover I want to thank the Europeans for bringing Sneezeweed to our attention. Like many of our most wonderful native plants, Sneezeweed was unknown or ignored until we started seeing them in their gardens.

They're planted in the sunniest spots I have with correopsis, asters, salvia azurea and Tennessee Coneflower. The stems are floppy and next year I'll cut them back in early July~They'll be bushier and look neater. They've just opened, so I'll dead head to keep them blooming, but, leave a few flowers to see if they will reseed. I think they've bloom till frost~just in time for the native ex-asters. Won't they look good together!

One other thing, Helenium autumnale is named sneezeweed because the leaves were dried and made into a snuff by native Americans to induce sneezing to treat a cold, not because they cause hay fever. Sneezeweed is insect pollinated and no pollen is released into the air.

In the meantime, Verbesina alternifolia is going back on the list. Here's what it looks like~

Wingstem

Thanks for stopping by to celebrate Wildflower Wednesday. It's all about sharing wildflowers/native plants no matter where you garden in the blogasphere. It doesn't matter if we sometimes show the same plants. How they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most.

I hope you join the celebration..It's always the fourth Wednesday of the month!


Gail

48 comments:

  1. Hi Gail, even if it is not what you thought you were getting, it is a darling plant! Thank you for Wildflower Wednesday, where weeds take center stage! We really need to upgrade the word weed from insult to compliment, don't you agree? :-)

    xo
    Frances

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  2. I have a similar theme to my post about wildflowers, coincidentally! I wrote about how excited the English gardeners were when our "weeds" were sent back to them in the 18th century... plants they had never seen before!

    http://www.maydreamsgardens.com/2010/08/may-all-your-weeds-be-wildflowers.html

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  3. We have similar flowers here,but more like smaller sunflowers.I agree with what Frances says. One gardener's weed is another gardener's prized possession.

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  4. Wildflower Wednesday sent me to my wildflower book - and I found I had also misnamed the flowers in my lawn - not in my garden - as yours so charmingly are. Thanks for the nudge.

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  5. A wonderful plant for any garden. Thanks for hosting Wildflower Wednesday. Great way to meet other native plant gardeners.

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  6. So much of late summer is bright yellow isn't it? I have Helianthus and Heliopsis blooming but I don't believe the varieties are wildflowers.

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  7. I love the shape of the sneezeweed with its little pompom centre. I bought a hybrid this year that is orange.

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  8. I just love the sneezeweed. You can never have too many of them and they are so easy to propagate. On the alternifolia, Rosey of Dung Hoe grows them. She sent me a ton of seeds but if they came up I did not know what it was. So far no plants have shown up. Perhaps these plants like the cooler weather better.

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  9. Happy you featured this plant because it is definitely underused - those flowers are so cheerful! There is a popular cultivar around here called "mardi gras" which has orange/yellow marking. Just gorgeous and I love how they shrug off all weather and keep blooming right through the fall here in New England.

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  10. I have always thought "sneezeweed" was a very funny name...one of many misleading common names for North American native plants!

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  11. Good morning, Gail; I just finished my wildflower post and came over to see what you were featuring today. I consider you the expert on wildflowers, so you could have called this sneezeweed anything you wanted, and I would have believed you:) But sneezeweed is such a pretty flower that it deserves proper recognition, I suppose. And thanks for clearing up the origins of its name--I always wondered about this. It's lovely, and I do hope you find some of the v alternifolia for next year.

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  12. This is my first year with them, ed and yellow cultivars. I was wondering if I'd like them, but I do, esp the red! Need that bridge blooms this time of year to the "ex asters." :) Ha.

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  13. I love the name too!
    I posted my recent Arizona pictures. Is a cacti flower a wildflower? Hmm...

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  14. Your sunny Helenium autumnale wears a happy face, dear Gail, as do I because I remembered today :)

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  15. I love those sneezeweed flowers - I'm not sure though if mine are going to flower this year as the aster has kind of taken over that patch of ground in my garden. I never realised that they were poisonous.

    I hope you eventually find that sought after plant Gail.

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  16. At least you got a pretty durable plant. The hunt continues...

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  17. Gail, I think that the Verbesina alternifolia is what I was just looking at in the Plant Delights catalog. Is the foliage blueish on a rather tall plant? If so, can I talk you into sending me a full-plant picture (via email is fine) so I can see what it looks like in "real life?" I'm so tempted!

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  18. These are pretty little things. I wonder if I can find them around here. Hmmm I hope you didn't have any water damage with all that rain at one time. I am still hopeful.

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  19. Glad it all turned out well. But I do really like that Verbesina.

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  20. MMD, I am not surprised! If I find any, you'll get one, too.

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  21. Kim, Verbesina microptera is what PDN has and I want that, too! I haven't any full size photos of the yellow crwonbeard~but I will go take a shot of the white frostweed,

    gail

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  22. Hi Gail, what a lovely flower. The fact it attracts so many insects is a huge bonus.
    I have more yellow blooms in my garden this year and I have been surprised just how happy they make me feel.
    I intend next year to add some reds.....I just love the red yellow combination......

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  23. Helenium is the best! Though I also love wingstem.

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  24. Lovely photos, and deerproof?! Then this not-so-sneezy Sneezeweed gets my vote! It actually reminds me of some our native Madia species here, so it would blend in beautifully.

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  25. I'd never heard of or seen Verbesina before. You've introduced me to a new plant.

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  26. LOL Gail! I'm a little late posting today, and just came to pick up your link to finish off my post. Looks like we're both talking about sneezeweed today. I'm glad the seeds started here turned out to be sneezeweed, as advertised. ;)

    I hope it settles in nicely both at Clay and Limestone and here.

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  27. Hi Gail! Glad you got Mr. Linky to work. I always love the parade of wildflowers. I've posted a mystery wildflower, but greater minds than mine have solved the puzzle.
    David/ Tropical Texana :-)

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  28. Hi Gail,
    Loved the list of visitors to this happy faced flower as much as the sunshine it offers just looking at it. Very sweet.

    As you know, I'm shamefully unsuccessful with wildflowers. I wish it weren't so.
    Meems

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  29. It is beautiful and good to know that it is tough.

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  30. I'm so glad that more and more people are embracing the joy that is Helenium...it's one of my favourite plants for the late summer garden, though I've had issues with it a few times because (ahem) I've forgotten where I've planted it and...pulled...it...out. Ooops!

    I've also decided to join in the Wildflower Wednesday, except mine will be on Thursday. And thank you, Gail, for starting this. It's a great way to get to know more about wildflowers around the world.

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  31. Hi Gail, another Wednesday on Thursday, but it was Wed when I wrote it on the other side of the world. Do tell, what is the advantage of Mr Linky? If we just leave a comment here with a link??

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  32. Diana, The biggest advantage is that it eliminates a step for readers who want to link directly to posts. If I link from your comment it takes me to your about you page, then I need to click on your blog. gail

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  33. Gail, I love your sneezeweed (and its name)! I must plant some one of these days.
    I have plenty of wildflowers blooming but am not finding time (or energy) to post much lately. Joe Pye Weed, Goldenrod and Jewelweed are blooming beautifully in the fields, along with several others at the moment. I love those plants that are completely independant and all we have to do is enjoy their beauty!
    It's been such a joy catching up with your recent posts. Each one is pure delight. Love your beautiful photos and whimsical musings. Thanks for sharing them :) I especially love your bee and butterfly pics, and that cute caterpiller..what a clever little thing! I hope you'll get some good rain soon and some quality time in your lovely garden.

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  34. Kerri, You sweetie~thanks for taking the time to visit and read older posts~You are a bloggers dream reader! gail

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  35. The only problem I have found with Helenium is that the voles like them too...or rather, their roots, in winter. I have a defense plan in place for this winter that includes my dogs this year, though :-) The idea of "Wildflower Wednesday" is a good one, that'll be fun to follow since we share a lot of wonderful and underused native plants with your TN region!
    Ellen

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  36. Ellen, which of the three blogs on your more info page is your garden?
    Gail

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  37. Gail, the 3 listed were just blogs that I follow, mine was not on there. I've put mine on there now, it's http://blog.THBFarm.com

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  38. Hi Gail, Sometimes we get surprises and grow to love them as you do here. Both are lovely flowers. I wonder if your Helen's flower is rabbit proof too! I hope it is OK for today (sorry I am late) I have added my post on Monarchs to your mime. There are wildflowers within the photos... cherry Rudbeckia but that is not my focus of course. From Milkweed to Monarch. I think it fits and hope you do too. ;>)

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  39. Hi Gail,
    I enjoyed your post and will keep both of the plants you mentioned in mind for another year. I am really trying to add as many Natives as possible...and have added dozens just this summer. I hope to join in more often w/WW! I 'almost' added this 'in time' (yesterday!) but wasn't quite finished last night and got so tired I needed to go to bed. Thanks for hosting this;-)

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  40. Love Helen's Flower !! The flowers last about 2 months maybe more.
    Mine are pretty much spent now but I guess you can deadhead them for return blooms ?

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  41. I will have to plant those helenium. They are quite pretty. The wingstem grows profusely in our pastures and is good for the honey bees.

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  42. I'm coming in quite late on this but so glad to see Wildflower Wednesday is such a hit. I'm thrilled each month to see new flowers and identify things in my yard.

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  43. Love that yellow color in the garden. I looks so good with blue.

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  44. Thanks for the IDs, as I have been wondering what these were.

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  45. Hello gail,

    I love bright yellow, daisy like flowers. Like you I have been fooled by incorrect labeling, but I do like the plant I ended up with.

    PS. Thank you so much for your kind comments on my latest posts :-)

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  46. Pretty little Helenium. I'm sorry I missed Wildflower Wednesday. I was behind on my letters too. However, I'm with you in spirit and I love that photos of the critters on the sunny faces. Thanks for making people aware of the wildflowers.~~Dee

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  47. This is one of my favorite flowers, Gail! I've got them at the top of my header at the moment! :-)

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  48. This was a practically perfect post Gail, loved it! I particularly loved the reminder to see the good in the garden. I have been feeling cross with myself for letting a summer of family responsibilities take over from the garden with the result that there are far more weeds than I like. But wondering around with Zoe and antoher new visitor made me see it afresh and realise how lucky I am! I love your sneezeweed too!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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