Helen's Flower
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Helen's Flower
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Anjulika
Common name: Helen's Flower, Common sneezeweed, Fall sneezeweed
Botanical name: Helenium autumnale    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Helen's Flower is a charming, daisy-like flower, native to North America, where it is usually found in moist, low ground. In India it is cultivated as a garden plant in colder mountain regions. Helen's Flower grows 1 to 5 feet tall, and has many elongated, lance- shaped leaves, up to 6 inches long. In late summer and fall, it bears daisy-like flower heads with fan-shaped, drooping "petals" (ray-florets). The wedge-shaped, yellow "petals" end in three teeth. The flower is characterized by a prominent greenish-yellow, raised, ball-like center, formed by disk florets. Common Sneezeweed is cultivated as a garden perennial. There are mutiple named varieties varying in color and height. "Pumilum Magnificum" is a yellow variety about two feet tall. "Bruno," a reddish brown cultivar, "Copper Spray," which is orange, and "Butterpat," which is golden, all grow 3 to 3 1/2 feet tall. "Chippersfield Orange" is 3 1/2 to 4 feet tall and is gold. The common name Sneezwort is based on the former use of its dried leaves in making snuff, inhaled to cause sneezing that would supposedly rid the body of evil spirits. Flowering: August-November.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Srinagar, Kashmir.

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