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Helenium autumnale

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Treasureflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White African Daisy, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
120 centimetres tall
Gardens, meadows, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Yellow, many petals
Showy bright golden-yellow daisy-like flowers with a dull yellow central disc. The 5-10 rays which look like petals are wedge-shaped. Flowers are borne in loose terminal clusters.
A capsule.
Simple, stalkless, greyish-green leaves, oblong to elliptical, up to 5 inches in length. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems and are scarcely toothed.
Other Names:
Autumn Sneezeweed, Bitterweed, Common Sneezeweed, Dog-toothed Daisy, False Sunflower, Helen's Flower, Large-flowered Sneezeweed.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Helenium autumnale, commonly known as Sneezeweed, is a species of perennial wildflower native to North America. It typically grows to a height of 1-4 ft. with a spread of 1-2 ft. The plant has a yellow, daisy-like flowers that bloom in late summer to fall. The leaves are lanceolate, dark green and arranged in opposite pairs on the stem. Sneezeweed is a very hardy, drought-tolerant plant that prefers full sun, moist to wet soil and is also tolerant of clay soils. It is often used in naturalized gardens, meadows and as a cut flower. The plant's common name "Sneezeweed" comes from the dried leaves and flowers of the plant have been used for centuries as a snuff that was inhaled to induce sneezing in order to relieve nasal congestion.


Sneezeweed, also known as Helenium autumnale, is a beautiful and versatile perennial plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to North America and is commonly found in meadows, prairies, and along streams and ponds. The plant gets its common name, Sneezeweed, from the historical use of its crushed flowers as a snuff to induce sneezing.


Helenium autumnale is a tall, upright plant that grows up to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide. The plant has long, lance-shaped leaves that are arranged alternately on the stems. The leaves are a dark green color and have a slightly toothed edge. The plant blooms in late summer or early fall with showy, daisy-like flowers that have a yellow or bronze center and yellow or red petals that are tinged with a hint of orange or brown. The flowers are held on long stems that rise above the foliage and attract pollinators like butterflies and bees.


Sneezeweed is a relatively easy plant to grow and care for. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil that is kept consistently moist. The plant is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, including clay and sandy soils. It is also drought tolerant once established.


Helenium autumnale can be propagated by seed or by division. Seeds can be sown directly in the garden in the spring, or started indoors in the late winter for transplanting outdoors in the spring. The plant can also be propagated by dividing mature clumps in the spring or fall. Dividing the plant not only helps with propagation but also helps to rejuvenate the plant and keep it healthy.


Sneezeweed is a popular choice for gardeners looking to add some late-season color to their garden. The plant looks stunning when planted in mass or mixed with other late-blooming perennials like asters, rudbeckias, and sedums. Sneezeweed is also a good choice for a cut flower as its flowers last well in a vase.

Medicinal uses

While Sneezeweed is not commonly used for medicinal purposes today, it has a long history of use by indigenous peoples for various ailments. The plant was used to treat respiratory infections, as well as digestive problems and skin conditions.

Helenium autumnale, or Sneezeweed, is a beautiful and easy-to-grow perennial plant that is a great addition to any garden. Its late-season blooms and tolerance to a wide range of soil types make it a popular choice for gardeners. With its history of medicinal use and ability to attract pollinators, Sneezeweed is a plant that not only adds beauty to the garden but also has practical uses as well.

Benefits to wildlife

In addition to being a beautiful garden plant, Sneezeweed is also an important source of food for wildlife. The plant's nectar-rich flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The seeds of the plant are also a food source for birds and other small mammals.

Cultural significance

Sneezeweed has been used by various indigenous peoples for a variety of cultural purposes. The Cheyenne tribe, for example, used the plant to treat colds, flu, and other respiratory ailments. The Lakota Sioux used the plant to make a yellow dye, while the Navajo used it to make a black dye.


While Sneezeweed is generally considered safe, the plant can cause mild skin irritation in some people. It is also toxic if ingested in large quantities, so it should not be consumed. Additionally, the plant can cause allergic reactions in some people, so it should be handled with care.


Sneezeweed, or Helenium autumnale, is a versatile and beautiful perennial plant that is a great choice for gardeners looking to add some late-season color to their garden. It is easy to grow and care for, and its nectar-rich flowers make it a valuable resource for pollinators. The plant also has a long history of use for medicinal and cultural purposes, further adding to its value. Whether used in a garden or appreciated in the wild, Sneezeweed is a plant that deserves to be recognized and appreciated for its many benefits.

And Finally...

Some popular cultivars of Sneezeweed include 'Butterpat', which has large, bright yellow flowers, and 'Rubinzwerg', which has deep red flowers. Other cultivars, like 'Mardi Gras' and 'Short 'n' Sassy', have multi-colored flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red.

Sneezeweed can be used in a variety of garden settings, including meadow gardens, cottage gardens, and naturalistic landscapes. The plant can be paired with other native wildflowers and grasses, or used as a specimen plant to add height and interest to a garden border.

To care for Sneezeweed, it's important to deadhead the flowers after they have faded to prevent the plant from self-seeding and to encourage continued blooming. In the fall, the plant can be cut back to the ground to prepare for winter.

Overall, Sneezeweed is a beautiful and versatile plant that offers many benefits to gardeners, pollinators, and wildlife alike. Whether used for its stunning late-season blooms or appreciated for its cultural and medicinal history, this plant is a valuable addition to any garden or natural landscape.