Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Wildflower Wednesday~Nothing To Sneeze About
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.
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!
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~
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!