Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Prairie Sunflower

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Helianthus pauciflorus ( Helianthus rigidus)

    COMMON NAMES: Prairie Sunflower, Showy Sunflower, Stiff Sunflower

    BLOOM TIME: July, Aug, Sept


    • 2-4 ft. tall, with stem that has short white hairs feeling like sandpaper.
    • Yellow flowers are 3 in. across with 10-25 ray florets around red/brown disk.
    • Rough textured serrated leaves.
    • Forms colonies by rhizomes but sometimes colonies die off in center, leaving a “fairy ring”.
    • Habitat full sun and dry conditions.


    • Flowers attract bumblebees, Miner bees, large Leaf-Cutting bees, Halictine bees, bee flies, butterflies, & skippers.
    • Typical butterfly visitors include; Pearl Crescent, Painted Lady, & Checkerspot butterflies seeking nectar.
    • Bees seek nectar & also collect pollen.
    • Mammals that eat the seeds and/or other parts of sunflowers include Franklin Ground Squirrel, Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel, Plains Pocket Gopher, Prairie Vole, Meadow Vole, White-tailed Rabbit, White-tailed Deer, & domesticated livestock.