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Common sneezeweed

Helenium autumnale

Helenium autumnale

Regular price $6.48 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.48 USD
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Size

Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade

Soil moisture: Medium to wet

Height: 3-5'

Spread: 2-3'

Flowering period: July to October

Host plant for 7 caterpillar species

Common sneezeweed’s numerous yellow flowerheads, with their exaggerated, spherical centers and neatly scalloped rays, possess a sweet, simple beauty that never fails to charm. Indeed, it seems that pollinators also find the plant to be irresistible, particularly several genera of long and short-tongued bees. A fun pastime of gardening with common sneezeweed is watching for appearances from any of the four species of green metallic bees that are native to Ohio (35). These iridescent green pollinators are a mesmerizing sight as they forage against the two-toned yellow backdrop of common sneezeweed’s flowerheads. Blooming for 1-2 months during the late summer and autumn, the plant provides one of the last nutritional sources that the bees will access prior to retreating into underground burrows to sleep out the winter.

One of common sneezeweed’s distinctive attributes which likely increases its attractiveness to bees is the simultaneous blooming of its flowerheads. A single plant can have as many as 100 flowerheads and their blooming has been likened to a color explosion. Common sneezeweed will attain a mature height of 3-5’ and will grow best under conditions of full to partial sunlight and wet to moderate soil moisture. Within its native NE Ohio range, the plant can be found in wet meadows, along stream and river banks, and in openings in wet woodlands.

Photo by Fritz Flohr Reynolds.

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