Maximilian Sunflower

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While visiting “The Wilds” in south-central Ohio, it was hard not to notice this eye-catching plant.

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This North American species of sunflower is named for Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, who encountered it on his travels in North America.

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Though native to the Great Plains in central North America, is has naturalized in the eastern and western parts of the continent. It is now found from British Columbia to Maine, south to the Carolinas, Chihuahua and California.

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Maximilian Sunflower was one of several plant species used in research to evaluate native perennial wildflower plantings for supporting wild bees and improving crop pollination on farmlands.

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This plant grows in a variety of environments throughout its range including meadows, tallgrass prairies, plains, roadsides, ditches and disturbed sites. It prefers full sun and tolerates a range of soil types.

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Its numerous bright yellow 3-inch flowers are found on the upper half of its unbranched stems. Maximilian Sunflower’s leaves are 4 to 8 inches in length and taper at both ends.

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Its flowers attract a variety of pollinators and the abundant supply of seeds that it produces are hard to resist for many species of birds.

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