What’s This Flower? November 11, 2014

The temperatures dove into the low teens last night, and I had to be cautious of numerous icy patches along the highway this morning.  I found myself feeling reminiscent of summer wildflowers, and thought maybe you would be too.

So – here’s a photo of a wildflower, taken on August 30, 2014 along the Central Platte River in Nebraska.  Can you name it?  I’ll give you a couple hints in the comments section below, and then after someone guesses correctly (and they will – a number of botanists follow this blog) I’ll confirm their answer in the comments section as well.



If you want to guess, but don’t see a comments section, click on the title of this post to open it in your web browser – then you can scroll to the bottom of the post to find the comments.



About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
This entry was posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to What’s This Flower? November 11, 2014

  1. Chris Helzer says:

    The photo was taken on the edge of a prairie wetland.

  2. Chris Helzer says:

    The common name of the flower misrepresents people’s reaction to it.

  3. Malinda Slagle says:

    Helenium autumnale, sneezeweed

  4. talmendinger says:

    agree with others, SNEEZEWEED

  5. Chris Helzer says:

    Yessir, you’ve got to get up pretty early to fool you smart people. And you’ve got to be REALLY quick on the draw to get your guess in first!! Nice job, everyone – it is, indeed, Helenium autumnale, or common sneezeweed. The characteristic winged stems don’t show up in the photo, but you apparently didn’t need to see them anyway.

  6. Charles says:


  7. Joanne says:

    Beautiful flower – not knowing the name, I am looking forward to learning if all the above are correct. Once again, great photography, Chris

  8. Benny says:

    Thank you for the post Chris. It is good to know what this flower is called. :)

  9. Brent says:

    Chris stop bringing up allergy issues for me when its 5° and snowing out……….cruel man!

  10. Pingback: What’s This Flower? (Advanced Edition) November 11, 2014 | The Prairie Ecologist

  11. goforsix says:

    Sneezweed- Helenium autumnale

  12. James C. Trager says:

    The name sneezeweed does not, in this case, have anything to do with allergies, but with the fact that this plant, ground into “snuff”, makes one sneeze, and this can sometimes happen when one handles or walks through a patch of them. The pollen however, (since this is an insect-pollinated plant) does not become airborne, and cannot cause inhalation allergies or “hayfever”, as does that of another plant that flowers at the same season, shedding its pollen to the wind as it does so, namely ragweed. Goldenrods are another group of plants wrongfully accused of the sins of their wind-pollinated cousin, ragweed.

  13. C says:

    Well, I wouldn’t have known the name, but I’ll make one up just for the fun of it- how about -Amarillo del Sol
    however, that doesn’t capture the textured center! Hmmm, I’ll have to keep thinking.


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