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Helenium flexuosum

purple-headed sneezeweed

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


  • Full Sun

Critter Resistance

  • Deer Resistant

Attracts Wildlife

  • Butterflies
  • Songbirds
  • Pollinators

Soil Moisture Preference

  • Wet to Moist


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

Flowering Months

  • October
  • September
  • August

Foliage Color

  • Green

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Summer
  • Spring

Salt Tolerance

  • Medium

Plants that work well with Helenium flexuosum ''

Thousand-flowered aster Thousand-flowered aster (Boltonia asteroides)
Harebell Harebell (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)