COMPOSITE FAMILY - Compositae: Sneeze weed; Swamp Sunflower

Helenium autumnale

Flower-heads--Bright yellow, 1 to 2 in. across, numerous, borne on long peduncles in corymb-like clusters; the rays 3 to 5 cleft, and drooping around the yellow or yellowish-brown disk. Stem: 2 to 6 ft. tall, branched above. Leaves: Alternate, firm, lance-shaped to oblong, toothed, seated on stem or the bases slightly decurrent; bitter.

Preferred Habitat--Swamps, wet ground, banks of streams.

Flowering Season--August-October.

Distribution--Quebec to the Northwest Territory; southward to Florida and Arizona.

Most cows know enough to respect the bitter leaves' desire to be let alone; but many a pail of milk has been spoiled by a mouthful of Helenium among the herbage. Whoever cares to learn from experience why this was called sneezeweed, must take a whiff of snuff made of the dried and powdered leaves.