Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)
- Maximilian sunflowers are tall perennials with one or more stalks and long, narrow, pale green leaves. They produce large bright yellow flowers up to three inches across in a spiral around the stem. This common urban plant grows from 1 - 10 feet high, but are usually around 4 - 6 feet tall.
- Life History
- Maximilian sunflowers are yellow flowered perennials that provide food and shelter for a wide variety of wildlife. Butterflies enjoy the nectar from the masses of late summer blooms that form a spiral around the stalk. Birds, deer and other wildlife enjoy the seeds produced in the fall.
Most sunflowers are annuals, which means that they live for only one year, but Maximilian sunflowers are perennials and come back for many years from their roots. A single plant will slowly form a growing circular colony over a number of years.
Sunflowers are heliotropes (sun lovers) and the flower heads turn to follow the sun as it moves across the sky. Look at the next field of sunflowers that you see. On a sunny day all of the flowers will be facing the same direction.
- Maximilian sunflowers are found in seasonally moist ditches or depressions on prairies.
- This species is found in central and eastern Texas north to southern Canada and east as far as the prairies extend.
- Native Americans grew sunflowers as a source of food, oil, dye and thread. Early pioneers planted sunflowers near their homes. They believed that sunflowers repelled mosquitoes and that a bath in boiled sunflower blossoms relieved arthritis pain.