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Schweinitz's Sunflower Is Endemic to North and South Carolina

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Tom Ballou of the Midlands Chapter of the South Carolina Bee Keepers Association first told me about Schweinitiz’ sunflower, Helianthus Schweinitizii, several years ago and gave me a start for my garden. Sadly, a huge pine fell into that space after a hurricane and it was two years before I could get it removed and find out what plants survived. Sadly, that important pollinator which is endemic to North and South Carolina and now on the Federal endangered species list, was not one of them. A report from the Rock Hill Culture and Heritage Museums states that without human intervention, this plant will become extinct. I have looked unsuccessfully for a native plant nursery which propagates and offers this plant. Originally, it was part of the Piedmont prairie ecosystem where fire and grazing megafauna, buffalo and elk, kept its preferred habitat free of shade.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.