Growing Schweinitz's Sunflower

Jul 31, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Shweinitz’s sunflower grows in only a few places in north and south Carolina. Since 1991 it has been on the federal endangered species list; it seems to require a fairly regular fire regime in order to persist. It has an unusual root system for a sunflower, fleshy starchy structures like a sweet potato’s which provide it with the stored carbohydrates needed to resprout vigorously after fires or mowing – now it is often found on roadsides. From August ‘ til frost, it has small typical flowers held on branches stems scattered along the four or five foot tall plants. As part of a recovery program, roots were planted at the Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History but deer immediately found and ate them. One did survived and when it bloomed, it was a magnet for insect pollinators of many persuasions.