Helenium vernale Walt. - Savannah Sneezeweed
Family - Asteraceae
Arrow shows decurrent leaf blade tissue.
Flowering - March - May.
Habitat - Savannahs, wet pine barrens, bogs, ditches.
Origin - Native to North America.
Other information - This attractive species can be found in just a few extreme southern Alabama counties. In the spring, the plant can be seen in profusion along roadside ditches that have been cut through pine areas.
H. vernale can be identified by its big yellow flower heads (one per stem), its decurrent leaf blade tissue, and its glabrous achenes. Another species, H. pinnatifidum (Nutt.) Rydb., is similar but has pubescent achenes and leaf blade tissue that is much less decurrent.
The genus name Helenium is named for Helen of Troy who was the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. The Greeks used the name for another genus and the name was transferred to this genus.
The species epithet vernale derives from the Latin "vern(a)" meaning "the spring" referring to the flowering time of the plant.
Photographs taken off Hwy 22, Bay County, FL., 3-29-05.