Autumn Sneezeweed, USA
Image taken around Lake Meyers in northeast Iowa
using my Canon PowerShot SX30 IS.
Helenium autumnale L.
Common sneezeweed, Fall sneezeweed, Autumn sneezeweed
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
This 2-5 ft., erect perennial has many elongate leaves and numerous flower heads. A winged stem bearing yellow, daisy-like flower heads with fan-shaped, drooping rays; disk flowers forming a conspicuous, greenish-yellow, ball-like structure at center of head. The flowers have raised centers and wedge-shaped, yellow petals which end in three teeth.
As the species name implies, Sneezeweed flowers in late summer or fall. The common name is based on the former use of its dried leaves in making snuff, inhaled to cause sneezing that would supposedly rid the body of evil spirits.
The genus is thought to have been named by Linnaeus for Helen of Troy. The legend is that the flowers sprung up from the ground where her tears fell.