Schweinitz's Sunflower

Jul 29, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Helianthus annuus, the annual flower that produces seeds with commercial value, is native to the prairies of the mid-western area but now is found all over the US and Canada. We have several sunflowers that are evolved in our part of the country. One of particular interest is Helianthus schweinitzii, or Schweinitz sunflower. This plant is endemic to certain parts of North and South Carolina. Endemic meaning a plant this is exclusively found in a specific region, or expanded only occurs in the two Carolinas. In the case of this sunflower, it seems to have evolved in the piedmont and Applachian prairies that were subjected to natural or set fire management as it doesn’t persist in shade. With habitat loss and fire suppression, it’s now on the Federal endangered species list and naturalists are working to reintroduce it to suitable habitats.