Pale-leaved Woodland Sunflower
Helianthus strumosus
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family

Pale-leaved Woodland Sunflower is an upright, mostly smooth perennial from rhizomes. Its preferred habitat is woodland edges, wet meadows, thickets and roadsides. Distribution is occasional in the Escambia region.

The leaves are opposite on the stem, short leaf stalks, lance-like in form, tapering to a long or short point and often pinched in (setting it off abruptly from the lower portion of the body). The leaves have toothed margins and the base is nearly rounded.

The flowers are single heads on short stalks arising from the upper leaf axils. Each flower is symmetrical in form; disc flowers being bisexual in nature. The ray flowers are female only. The color is bright yellow. Flowers occur in the summer.

Fruit is achene (a seed which outer layer is fused to it).


The Pale-leaved Woodland Sunflower is fairly common in Alabama and is often confused with H. divaricatus and H. hirsutus, which leaves are also opposite on the stem. The most distinguishing characteristic is that divaricatus may have a single stem that is usually smooth. H. stumosus has a stem that is much branched up to 10 feet tall and coated with a waxy layer that rubs off easily. The leaves are gray-green or bluish-green in color, thus the name. H. divaricatus leaves are rough to the touch.

Some sunflowers in the genus Helianthus can be very difficult to distinguish because of integration and other factors. H. strumosus and H. divaricatus are no exception, as the plants greatly resemble each other.

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