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Helenium flexuosum

purple-headed sneezeweed

Native to North America


Prefers rich moist to wet soils.  Golden yellow reflexed petals encircle a brownish purple center disk from August through October.Do not overfertilize as it will cause plants to become too tall. Native to eastern and midwestern US.  

Helenium has an undeserved reputation as a cause of hayfever and fall allergies.  The flowers of this species are pollinated by insects instead of wind so they have heavy, sticky pollen that is not easily inhaled.

Known as Sneezeweed because the flowers were pulverized to make a snuff that induced sneezing.   This reaction was believed to clear the head, relieve headaches and perhaps cause the evacuation of those pesky evil spirits.


2-5 ft


1-2 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone:


Bloom Color:

Purple, Yellow

Helenium flexuosum Characteristics

Attracts Wildlife

  • Songbirds
  • Pollinators
  • Butterflies


  • Rain Garden
  • Cut Flower
  • Clay Soil
  • Bog
  • Naturalizing
  • Long Blooming
  • East-Coast Native
  • Dried Flower


  • Full Sun

Deer Resistant

  • Deer Resistant

Flowering Months

  • October
  • September
  • August

Foliage Color

  • Green

Salt Tolerance

  • Medium

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Summer
  • Spring

Soil Moisture Preference

  • Wet to Moist

Plants that work well with Helenium flexuosum ''

Thousand-flowered aster Thousand-flowered aster (Boltonia asteroides)
Harebell (No Advance Orders) Harebell (No Advance Orders) (Campanula rotundifolia)
New England aster New England aster (Aster novae-angliae)
Spotted Joe pye weed Spotted Joe pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum)
Swamp mallow Swamp mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Wild bergamot Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Dense blazing star Dense blazing star (Liatris spicata)
Switch grass Switch grass (Panicum virgatum)
Big bluestem Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

Substitutions for Helenium flexuosum

Common sneezeweed Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)