File Size: 61 KB
Helianthus petiolaris  Nutt.
Ottawa County, Kansas
Height: 2-5 feet
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:  
Stems: Erect, simple or branched, generally light green, usually stiff-hairy.
Leaves: Mostly alternate, simple, long-stalked, triangular-ovate to narrowly lanceolate, 1.5 to 6 inches long, .5 to 3 inches wide, stiff-hairy, bluish gray when mature; margins entire or shallow toothed.
Inflorescences: Heads, few, on stalks 3 to 4 inches long, terminal, 2 to 2.5 inch wide; bracts lanceolate to spatulate, stiff-hairy.
Flowers: Ray florets 15-30, 1/4 to 1 inch long, yellow; disk 1/2 to 1 inch wide, disk florets with reddish purple corollas, chaffy bracts at center of disk densely white-hairy.
Fruits: Achenes, oblong, less than 1/4 inch long, swollen, hairy, tipped with 2 deciduous awns, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Dry, open, sandy sites.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Uses: The Hopi mixed dried, ground petals of plains sunflower with cornmeal to use as yellow face powder for ceremonial dances. The Navajo made a liquid from the plant that they sprinkled on their clothing to bring good luck when hunting.
 Plains sunflower resembles common sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) but has shorter, narrower leaves.

Plains sunflower leaves
126 KB
Ottawa County, Kansas
Plains sunflower
151 KB
Ottawa County, Kansas
Plains sunflower inflorescence
70 KB
Ottawa County, Kansas
Plains sunflower bracts
69 KB
Ottawa County, Kansas
Plains sunflower chaffy bracts
86 KB
Ellsworth County, Kansas