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What Plant Is Important in October?Sunflowers

Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)

Maximilian sunflower is a native, perennial, warm-season forb found throughout the U.S. and Canada.

  • Adapted to many soil textures
  • Grows in areas receiving 18 inches of precipitation or more
  • A spreading plant that can form extensive colonies
  • Can reach heights of up to 7 feet
  • Tuberous root system used as a food plant by native Americans

SunflowersMaximilian sunflower is a true sunflower, having multiple yellow flowers that are quite showy and adding a splash of color to rangelands in the fall. It is a palatable plant for livestock and wildlife in its early stages of growth.

Maximilian sunflower is known as a decreaser plant. If it is over-used or over-grazed it will disappear from the plant community. It is commercially available and is often used in landscaping as a hedge plant or accent plant. Maximilian sunflower is an important native forb and is used extensively in rangeland restoration projects.

Editor’s note: Jeff Goodwin, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Kent Ferguson, recently retired from NRCS, are providing us with plant identification photo stories to help ranchers identify those forbs, forages and brush species growing in the pastures. Photos also provided by Clint Rollins, USDA NRCS.


"What Plant is Important in October" is from the October 2014 issue of The Cattleman magazine.