Don’t be fooled…

Don’t be fooled by the common name of this plant. Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale – is no threat to you allergy sufferers. In reality, this lovely fall blooming composite is a wonderful addition to a native landscape. Late summer and fall are dire times for organisms living in temperate regions. The looming threat of winter causes a hurry amongst creatures big and small to store up enough energy reserves to survive the coming months of scarcity and famine. Any plant that blooms late into the fall offers a beacon to pollinators that need all the food they can get to overwinter. Sneezeweed is such a plant. Often still blooming when the first frosts hit, its beauty also offers us humans the last vestiges of botanical enjoyment before our backyards go to sleep. Its daisy-like flowers with their domed center disks even verge on what one would consider as cute. Sneezeweed likes a decent amount of sun and moist to wet soils. If given these conditions it will reseed readily. What seeds don’t germinate will be greatly appreciated by overwintering birds and mammals. The common name of this species comes from the erroneous idea that crushing up the flowers of this plant and snorting them could cure the common cold. A rather toxic chemical within the plant, when snorted, causes severe bouts of sneezing. With that being said, as long as you are not ingesting the plant in any way, it can only offer beauty and enjoyment to your native landscape.



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