ASHY SUNFLOWER
File Size: 51 KB
 
Helianthus mollis  Lam.
Cloud County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 20-48 inches
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:   July, August, September
Also Called: Downy sunflower.
Stems: Erect, solitary or clustered, densely gray pubescent with soft to stiff hairs.
Leaves: Mostly opposite or uppermost sometimes alternate, stiff, ascending, sessile, usually heart-shaped clasping, ovate to broadly lanceolate, 2 to 6 inches long, .8 to 2.8 inches wide, grayish-green, surfaces rough-hairy; margins entire to shallow-toothed; tips pointed or tapering pointed.
Inflorescences: Heads, 2.5 to 4 inches across, solitary or few in spike-like raceme, long-stalked, terminal; bracts in 2 to 4 unequal, overlapping series, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate; margins and outer surface densely pubescent with ascending or spreading hairs; tips pointed to gradually tapering to slender points, loose spreading.
Flowers: Ray florets 15-30, .8 to 1.4 inches long, light to deep yellow; disk florets yellow, corolla 1/4 to 1/3 inch long; chaffy bracts linear, about 2/5 inch long, entire, tapering to points; tips green or yellowish.
Fruits: Achene, wedge-shaped to egg-shaped, 1/8 to 1/6 inch long, dark brown or brown-mottled, tipped by 2 scales with pointed tips, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Open drying places, roadsides, fence rows, upland prairies, pastures, old fields, thickets, glades; sandy soils.
Distribution: East 1/2 of Kansas.
Origin: Native
Comments: Latin mollis "soft" alluding to the fine pubescence on the surface of the leaves. Ashy sunflower arises from much branched rhizomes so it is usually found growing in colonies.

Ashy sunflower inflorescence
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Cloud County, Kansas
Ashy sunflower disk florets
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Cloud County, Kansas
Ashy sunflower leaves
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Cloud County, Kansas
Ashy sunflower bracts
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Cloud County, Kansas
Ashy sunflower
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Cloud County, Kansas
Ashy sunflower stem
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Cloud County, Kansas
Ashy sunflower
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Cloud County, Kansas
Ashy sunflower inflorescence
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Cloud County, Kansas