Helenium vernale Walt. - Savannah Sneezeweed

Helenium vernale plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems:

Helenium vernale stem

Leaves:

Helenium vernale leaf tissueArrow shows decurrent leaf blade tissue.

Inflorescence:

N/A

Involucre:

Helenium vernale involucre

Ray flowers:

Helenium vernale flowers

Disk flowers:

Helenium vernale disk

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.

Alabama Distribution:

Helenium vernale map

Photographs taken off Hwy 22, Bay County, FL., 3-29-05.


Thumbnail page

Species List