A.k.a. ashy sunflower. An adaptable sunflower in miniature! Foliage is a notable grey-green or blue-green, so a population of downy sunflower stands out among its neighbors. Spreads fairly quickly from rhizome to for a robust colony. Height can clear 5’ in garden conditions, but 4’ or less is more common in the wild and in dense plantings.
Unfortunately popular with the non-native sunflower head clipping weevil- make sure to dispose of any clipped heads (which contain eggs) to curb the weevil’s reproduction.
Light: Full Sun
Soil Moisture: Mesic, Dry Mesic, Dry
Soil Type: Adaptable
Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Aug-Sep
Root Type: Rhizome
Notable Wildlife Interactions: Flowers attract mainly bees, but also bee flies and butterflies. Hosts the silvery checkerspot and gorgone checkerspot butterflies. Seeds are readily eaten by ground birds, seed eating birds, and small mammals. Foliage is commonly browsed by mammals.
Notes: Specimens in the attached Smithsonian photo were collected in Indiana in 1899!