Heliopsis Hellianthoides, also known as Early Sunflower, False Sunflower, or Smooth Oxeye, is a perennial wildflower is native to Michigan and the UP. It is one of the species that is more suited to life in the UP than downstate. Closely related to sunflowers, it gets its own designation because it is capable of producing seeds from both the ray and disk florets of the blooms. According to https://illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/fs_sunflowerx.htm, true sunflowers produce seed only from the disk florets, while Silphium species, like Prairie Dock and Cup Plant, produce seeds only from the ray florets.
Early Sunflower reaches 5 feet tall and flowers from July to frost with a 2 to 3 inch yellow blossom. In addition to the long flowering time, one of my favorite characteristics of this plant is the foliage, which is a rich green shown off by wide leaves, creating a backdrop for the sunny yellow flowers. Early Sunflower prefers full sun to partial shade, wet to mostly dry soil and will grow in muck, clay, loam, rocky, or sandy soil. It is difficult to overstate its versatility.
The blooms differ from true sunflowers in that they are erect, rather than nodding, creating a show no matter what angle is taken by the viewer. Best for a variety of sites. This short lived perennial grows almost everywhere but is not usually aggressive, instead forming attractive clumps. This is a great plant for bees, wasps, and other pollinators. It is also the host plant for a variety of butterflies, moths, and other insects, which in turn provide a food source for birds.
Single plants will come in plastic pots (Approx. 4” x 4.5”) Plants will vary in size between 2 and 10 inches.
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