Scientific Name: Helianthus mollis

Common Name: ashy sunflower

Other Common Names: downy sunflower, hairy wild sunflower

Synonyms: Helianthus mollis var. cordatus

Leaves: Leaves are opposite, stiff, ascending, sessile and clasping with a rough-hairy grayish-green surface to 12 cm long and 8 cm wide. Leaf margins are entire to shallowly toothed with a pointed tip. Inflorescence consists of single flower heads positioned on terminal stems

Identifying Characteristics: Ashy sunflower is a native, warm-season; perennial forb typically found growing in well-drained soils and full sun. Stems are erect, solitary or clustered, densely pubescent gray, growing from rhizomes to 1.2 m tall

Flower Seed Head: Flowers exhibit 15-30 yellow petals (sterile ray florets), 2.5-3 cm long encompassing fertile yellow disk florets compressed to 2.5 cm in diameter. Each disk floret has a glabrous corolla tube to 6 mm long, and five stamens with whitish filaments and dark-brown anthers

Seed Fruit: Fruits are achenes that are wedge shaped, dark-brown or black, and tipped by two scales with pointed tips each enclosing a small single seed 3-6 mm in length.

Where Found: Ashy sunflower is found throughout the eastern half the United States, as far west as Nebraska and northward into Canada. It has not been reported in Florida, which may be the extent of its southern range

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Plant family: Asteraceae