Common sneezeweed is a perennial herb up to 130 cm (51 1⁄3 in; 4 1⁄3 ft) tall. In late summer and fall, one plant can produce as many as 100 yellow flower heads in a branching array. Each head has 11–21 ray florets surrounding sometimes as many as 800 disc florets.
Distribution and habitat
This plant is widespread across much of the United States and Canada, from Northwest Territories as far south as far northern California, Arizona, Louisiana, and Florida. It has not been found in southern or central California, New Hampshire, or the 4 Atlantic Provinces of Canada.
Common sneezeweed is cultivated as a garden perennial. There are multiple named varieties varying in color and height. 'Pumilum Magnificum' is a yellow variety about two feet tall. 'Bruno', a reddish-brown cultivar, 'Kupfersprudel', which is yellow/orange, and 'Butterpat', which is golden, all grow 3 to 3.5 feet (91 to 107 centimetres) tall. 'Chippersfield Orange' is up to 0.91 metres (3 ft) tall and is orange streaked with gold.
The plant owes its name to the use of its dried leaves in snuff, the inhaling of which causes sneezing—supposedly casting out evil spirits.
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- "Helenium autumnale", Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA, retrieved 2007-05-08
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- Biota of North America Program 2014 state-level distribution map
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- Jepson Manual Treatment
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- Helenium autumnale in the CalPhotos Photo Database, University of California, Berkeley
- photo of herbarium specimen at Missouri Botanical Garden, collected in Missouri in 2002