Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

Notwithstanding its name, the Sawtooth Sunflower often has leaves that are toothless or only slightly serrated. There is considerable variation in the size of plants across different locations, and the leaves are somewhat variable in their size and shape. This sunflower can be distinguished from other Helianthus spp. (sunflowers) by its smooth reddish stems, which often have a powdery white bloom that can rubbed off (i.e., they are glabrous and glaucous). The lower stems on large older plants can become slightly woody in appearance. The Sawtooth Sunflower is similar in size and appearance to Helianthus giganteus (Giant Sunflower), but this latter species has hairy stems and it is usually found in habitats that are more moist and sandy. Return
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Description

This perennial plant is 3-12' tall. Plants in dense colonies are only 3-5' tall, but 'lone wolf' plants can achieve considerable height. The stout central stem is glabrous, glaucous, terete (circular in cross-section), and often reddish or reddish-purple in color. There is very little branching, except for some flowering stems that occur along the upper half of the plant. The leaves are up to 8" long and 2½" across, lanceolate-oblong, and either smooth (entire) or slightly to strongly serrate along their margins. The upper leaf surface is medium to dark green with a sandpapery texture that derives from the presence of minute stiff hairs. The lower leaf surface is pale green and softly hairy. The leaves are often slightly recurved, and they have a tendency to fold upward along their central veins, particularly during hot dry weather. The leaves are opposite below, but they become either alternate or opposite along the upper half of the plant. The leaves taper gradually into slender petioles that are about ½" in length.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Perennials, 100–400(–500) cm (rhi-zomatous). Stems erect, glabrous proximally, distally glabrate, scabrellous, or strigillose (glaucous). Leaves cauline; opposite (proximal) or alternate; petioles (1–)2–5 cm; blades (light to dark green, 3-nerved distal to bases) lanceolate to lance-ovate, 10–32 × (1.2–)4–9 cm, bases cuneate, margins usually coarsely to shallowly serrate, rarely subentire (flat), abaxial faces puberulent to tomentulose, gland-dotted. Heads 3–15+. Peduncles 0.3–10 cm. Invo-lucres broadly hemispheric, 15–25 mm diam. Phyllaries 25–30 (loose, spreading ), lance-linear, 10–14 × 1.5–2.5 mm (subequal), (margins ± ciliate) apices attenuate, abaxial faces glabrous or puberulent, not gland-dotted. Paleae 7–8 mm, entire or 3-toothed (apices acuminate, ± hairy). Ray florets 14–20; laminae 23–40 mm. Disc florets 100+; corollas 5–6 mm, lobes yellow; anthers dark brown to black, appendages yellow. Cypselae 3–4 mm, glabrate; pappi of 2 aristate scales 1.9–2.5 mm. 2n = 34.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Helianthus instabilis E. Watson
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Ecology

Associations

Faunal Associations

The most common visitors to the flowers are bees, especially long-tongued species. Among these are honeybees, bumblebees, Cuckoo bees (Epeolus spp., Triepeolus spp.), digger bees (Melissodes spp.), and leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.). Other insect visitors include Syrphid flies, bee flies, butterflies, moths, and beetles. Both nectar and pollen are available as floral rewards. Other insects feed on the foliage, plant juices, pith of stems, developing seeds, etc., of sunflowers. These insect feeders include caterpillars of the butterflies Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) and Chlosyne gorgone (Gorgone Checkerspot), stem-boring caterpillars of Papaipema necopina (Sunflower Borer Moth) and Papaipema rigida (Rigid Sunflower Borer Moth), seed-eating caterpillars of the moths Homoeosoma electella (Sunflower Moth) and Stibadium spumosum (Frothy Moth), foliage-eating caterpillars of Grammia arge (Arge Tiger Moth) and Phragmatobia fuliginosa (Ruby Tiger Moth), and many other Lepidoptera (see Lepidoptera Table for a more complete listing of these species). Other insect feeders of sunflowers include the stem-boring larvae of Apion occidentale (Black Sunflower Weevil) and Cylindrocopturus adspersus (Sunflower Stem Weevil), Physonota helianthi (Sunflower Tortoise Beetle) and Systena blanda (Pale-Striped Flea Beetle), larvae of the flies Neotephritis finalis (Sunflower Seed Maggot) and Strauzia longipennis (Sunflower Maggot), Hesperotettix viridis (Meadow Purple-Striped Grasshopper) and Melanoplus femurrubrum (Red-Legged Grasshopper), Aphis helianthi (Sunflower Aphid) and Uroleucon ambrosiae (Brown Ambrosia Aphid), Clastoptera xanthocephala (Sunflower Spittlebug), and many other insects (see Insect Table for a more complete listing of these species). The seeds of sunflowers are a favorite food of such upland gamebirds and songbirds as the Ring-Necked Pheasant, Bobwhite Quail, Mourning Dove, Redwing Blackbird, Eastern Goldfinch, Lark Sparrow, and Savannah Sparrow. Such rodents as the Franklin Ground Squirrel, Prairie Vole, and Meadow Vole also eat the seeds. These animals probably help to spread the seeds into new areas. When the Sawtooth Sunflower and other sunflowers are located near bodies of water, beavers and muskrats sometimes use their stems to construct dams or lodges. Deer, cattle, and other hoofed mammalian herbivores occasionally browse on the foliage of larger sunflower plants, while groundhogs and rabbits are more likely to attack smaller plants. Photographic Location
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Sawtooth Sunflower in Illinois

Helianthus grosseserratus (Sawtooth Sunflower)
(Bees collect pollen or suck nectar; beetles usually feed on pollen & are non-pollinating, otherwise they suck nectar; other insects suck nectar; a few observations are from Krombein et al. as indicated below, otherwise they are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn, Bombus fraternus sn fq, Bombus griseocallis sn, Bombus impatiens sn, Bombus pensylvanica sn fq, Bombus vagans sn, Psithyrus variabilis sn fq; Anthophoridae (Anthophorini): Anthophora walshii sn; Anthophoridae (Epeolini): Triepeolus concavus sn fq, Triepeolus cressonii cressonii sn fq, Triepeolus donatus sn, Triepeolus helianthi helianthi sn fq; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes agilis sn cp fq olg, Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata sn cp, Melissodes boltoniae sn cp fq, Melissodes coloradensis sn cp fq, Melissodes dentiventris sn cp fq, Melissodes menuachus sn, Melissodes nivea sn, Melissodes rustica sn, Melissodes trinodis sn cp fq, Svastra obliqua obliqua sn cp fq; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada vincta sn fq; Megachilidae (Coelioxini): Coelioxys rufitarsis rufitarsis sn fq; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn cp, Megachile inimica sayi sn cp, Megachile latimanus sn cp fq, Megachile texana sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Dufoureinae): Dufourea marginatus marginatus sn cp fq olg; Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn cp, Agapostemon texanus texanus sn, Agapostemon virescens sn, Halictus ligatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum versatus cp; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena accepta sn cp fq olg (Rb, Kr), Andrena duplicata (Kr), Andrena helianthi sn cp fq olg (Rb, Kr); Andrenidae (Panurginae): Heterosarus solidaginis sn cp fq

Wasps
Sphecidae (Bembicinae): Bembix americana, Bembix nubilipennis; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Prionyx atrata

Flies
Syrphidae: Eristalis stipator fq, Eristalis tenax, Eristalis transversus fq, Eupeodes americanus, Helophilus fasciatus, Helophilus latifrons, Syrphus ribesii; Bombyliidae: Exoprosopa decora, Sparnopolius confusus fq, Systoechus vulgaris fq; Conopidae: Robertsonomyia palpalis; Tachinidae: Uramya pristis; Muscidae: Neomyia cornicina; Anthomyiidae: Leucophora siphonina fq

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Danaus plexippus fq, Euptoieta claudia, Speyeria cybele, Speyeria idalia, Vanessa cardui fq, Vanessa virginiensis; Pieridae: Colias cesonia, Colias philodice; Papilionidae: Battus philenor

Moths
Arctiidae: Utetheisa bella; Ctenuchidae: Cisseps fulvicollis; Noctuidae: Anagrapha falcifera

Beetles
Cantharidae: Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus sn; Chrysomelidae: Diabrotica longicornis fp np, Diabrotica undecimpunctata fp np

Plant Bugs
Phymatidae: Phymata fasciatus prd

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun, moist soil, and fertile loamy soil with high organic content. However, this robust plant will tolerated other kinds of soil. Powdery mildew may affect the leaves, but this typically occurs during the fall after the blooming period. Strong wind can cause this plant to blow over in exposed situations. It also requires lots of room because of its large (sometimes huge) size and aggressive tendencies. Range & Habitat
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Wikipedia

Helianthus grosseserratus

Helianthus grosseserratus, commonly known as sawtooth sunflower or thick-tooth sunflower[2] , is a perennial sunflower in the family Asteraceae, with a large flowering head (inflorescence).

The plant may reach 3–12 feet (91–366 cm) in height and is found along streams, damp prairies and roadsides in the eastern parts of Canada and the USA.[2] It prefers full sun and moist, fertile loamy soil with high organic content.[3]

The lanceolate leaves are simple and alternate and may reach 4 to 12 inches (10–30 cm) long and from 1 to 4 inches (2–10 cm) wide. The leaf margins are sharply toothed (hence the name, sawtooth) to occasionally nearly entire and the tips are pointed.

The head (formally composite flower) is 3 to 4 inches (7–10 cm) wide with golden-yellow disk flowers that bloom in summer and autumn. The 10-20 yellow petals are about 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) long. The fruit is a single achene within a husk.

Various insects, birds and mammals–including cattle–feed on either the plant or its seeds.[3][4]

Native Americans used to treat burns with a poultice made from the flowers.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "PLANTS Profile for Helianthus grosseserratus (sawtooth sunflower)". USDA PLANTS. plants.usda.gov. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  2. ^ a b Wiersema, John H. "Helianthus grosseserratus information from NPGS/GRIN:". ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  3. ^ a b "Sawtooth Sunflower (Helianthus grosseserratus):". illinoiswildflowers.info. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  4. ^ a b "Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses - Sawtooth sunflower:". kswildflower.org. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
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Notes

Comments

Helianthus grosseserratus is native to midwestern North America and has spread as a roadside weed into other areas, such as New England and the southeastern United States. It is introduced in Canada. Hybrids between H. maximiliani and H. grosseserratus are known as H. ×intermedius R. W. Long (R. W. Long 1954; Long 1966). Hybrids of H. grosseserratus with H. salicifolius have been described as H. kellermannii Britton (Long 1955), and those with H. mollis as H. brevifolius E. Watson (R. C. Jackson and A. T. Guard 1957b).
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