Photo by David Welfelt

Common Name: Maximilian's Sunflower

Scientific Name: Helianthus maximilianii

Family: Aster

Longevity: Perennial

Height: 3 - 6 feet

Bloom Period: August, September, and October


Description: Many tall, upright stems grow from a single base. Leaves have a rough surface, are usually folded lengthwise and curve down to a pointed tip. Flowers, with yellow ray petals and yellow center disks, are scattered along the upper half of the stem.

Comments: There are 11 species of sunflowers in Kansas, and nine occur in the Flint Hills. Maximilian’s occurs in colonies and is prominent on heavier soils. Readily eaten by livestock, it is a desirable range plant and rare in most pastures. As with all the sunflowers, the seeds are an excellent wildlife food, supplying high quality protein for song birds and many small mammals. Maximilian’s Sunflower is found in prairie hay meadows and along prairie roadsides statewide.