Sunflower, Coneflowers & Allies

Black-eyed Susan Golden Tickseed Annual Sunflower Large Blanket-flower

What are they?

Marigolds and related plants form a group of often showy, yellow- or orange-flowered members of the daisy and dandelion family - the Asteraceae. Their flowers differ from those of the dandelions in having strap-like petals or 'rays' around the outside of the compound flowerhead only, with the small florets in the centre being petalless and forming a button-like middle. These plants are annuals or herbaceous perennials and are often grown in gardens for their showy flowers, whichcan be produced throughout the summer. The plants tend to be multistemmed, while the flowerheads are mostly carried singly on long stems.

Where are they found?

Most are plants that are grown ornamentally and are most likely to be found as garden escapes or throw-outs on roadsides, waste ground or other grassy places. Corn Marigold is a weed of arable margins.

Identification

The flowers of this group can seem all rather similar at first, so it pays to make a note of leaf detail and to take a close look at the phyllaries (the green bracts around the base of the flowerhead), which should make identification relatively straight forward.



Annual Sunflower      Helianthus annuus

Introduced from North America and well-known both as a garden ornamental and as the source of sunflower seed. Occasionally found as a self-sown stray from agricultural plantings or from spilt bird food. Flowers July to October. Cultivated forms are easily identified by virtue of their height (sometimes to 5m or more!) and their massive flowerheads up to 30cm across. Self-sown plants tend to more closely resemble the true species, being much shorter (to 100cm) and having smaller flowers that appear on side branches, rather than a single, large flower at the top of the main stem. In the photos below, the first row shows the larger-flowered form, while the lower row shows smaller, self-sown plants.

Annual Sunflower Annual Sunflower Annual Sunflower Annual Sunflower
Habit
Flowerhead
Phyllaries
Leaf
Annual Sunflower Annual Sunflower Annual Sunflower Annual Sunflower
Habit
Flowerhead
Phyllaries
Leaf


Jerusalem Artichoke      Helianthus tuberosus

Introduced from North America as a root vegetable and occasionally found as a relic of cultivation. Flowers July to October. Spreads readily from a creeping rootstock, so often found forming loose colonies of many stems. Stems have rough, bristly hairs on them.

Jerusalem Artichoke Jerusalem Artichoke Jerusalem Artichoke Jerusalem Artichoke
Flowerhead
Phyllaries
Leaf
Stem




Black-eyed Susan      Rudbeckia hirta

Introduced from North America as a garden ornamental and occasionally found as a relic of cultivation. Flowers July to October. An annual or short-lived perennial that doesn't persist for long. The whole plant is covered in rough hairs, the stem hairs having swollen, reddish bases. Flowers are usually yellow with a dark centre, but some cultivated varieties may have orange or red tones.

Black-eyed Susan Black-eyed Susan Black-eyed Susan Black-eyed Susan
Habit
Flowerhead
Phyllaries
Leaves and stem
Black-eyed Susan
Flowerhead


Large Blanket-flower      Gaillardia x grandiflora

Introduced from North America as a garden ornamental and occasionally found as a short-lived garden throw-out or escape. Flowers July to October. Flowers reddish with a yellow border of variable width. Phyllaries pointed and strongly reflexed.

Large Blanket-flower Large Blanket-flower Large Blanket-flower Large Blanket-flower
Flowerhead
Flowerhead
Phyllaries
Leaf


Golden Tickseed      Coreopsis tinctoria

Introduced from North America as a garden ornamental and occasionally found as where included in so-called 'wildflower mixes'. Flowers July to October. A small plant, to around 50cm in height. Each leaf is deeply cut into a complex bunch of narrow segments.

Golden Tickseed Golden Tickseed Golden Tickseed Golden Tickseed
Flowerhead
Phyllaries
Leaf
Flower buds