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Published In: Encyclopédie Méthodique, Botanique 3(1): 85. 1789. (Encycl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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9. Helianthus mollis Lam. (ashy sunflower)

H. mollis f. flavidus Steyerm.

Pl. 282 g, h; Map 1196

Plants perennial herbs, with relatively thick, long-creeping, branched rhizomes, usually occurring in colonies. Stems solitary, 50–120 cm long, moderately to more commonly densely pubescent with short, spreading hairs and usually also shorter, ascending hairs, these mostly not pustular-based, usually appearing uniformly grayish, slightly to moderately roughened to the touch, occasionally nearly glabrous toward the base with age. Leaves well developed along the stem (usually with 8–17 nodes), all or mostly opposite, sessile or with a minute petiole less than 5 mm long. Leaf blades 3–15 cm long, 1–7 cm wide, broadly lanceolate to broadly ovate, rounded or shallowly cordate at the base, tapered to a usually sharply pointed tip, the margins entire or less commonly finely toothed, flat, the surfaces moderately to more commonly densely pubescent with short, slender, curved or ascending hairs, usually appearing uniformly grayish, slightly to moderately roughened to the touch, often also with sparse to dense, sessile, yellow glands, with 3 main veins, the lateral pair branching from the midnerve well above the base of the blade, arching upward. Inflorescences of solitary terminal heads or appearing as leafy spikes or narrow racemes. Involucre 7–12 mm long, 20–30 mm in diameter, about as long as or slightly longer than the tips of the disc corollas, the bracts in 2–4 somewhat unequal, overlapping series, narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate, tapered to a sharply pointed, appressed-ascending or somewhat spreading tip, the margins and outer surface densely pubescent with slender, ascending to somewhat spreading or tangled hairs, also with moderate to dense, minute, sessile, yellow glands. Receptacle convex, the chaffy bracts 9–11 mm long, narrowly oblong to linear, tapered to a sharply pointed, green or straw-colored tip, the outer surface densely short-hairy and glandular. Ray florets 17–30, the corolla 2.0–3.5 cm long, glabrous or the outer surface with sparse to dense, short, slender hairs and often dense, minute, sessile, yellow glands. Disc florets with the corolla 6.0–7.5 mm long, the corollas yellow or rarely pale yellow, the lobes usually minutely hairy on the outer surface (sometimes only along the margins). Pappus of 2 scales 2.5–3.5 mm long, these lanceolate to narrowly triangular, tapered to a sharply pointed, often minutely awnlike tip. Fruits 3–4 mm long, wedge-shaped to obovate, only slightly flattened but usually bluntly 4-angled in cross-section, moderately to densely pubescent with short, ascending hairs when young, only those at the tip persistent at maturity, uniformly dark brown or with fine, darker and lighter brown mottling. 2n=34. July–October.

Common in the Unglaciated Plains Division, scattered elsewhere in the state but uncommon or absent from most of the Glaciated Plains (Wisconsin to Nebraska south to Louisiana and Texas; introduced in the eastern U.S. and adjacent Canada). Upland prairies and glades; also pastures, old fields, fencerows, margins of ditches, railroads, and roadsides.

Helianthus ×cinereus Torr. & A. Gray var. sullivantii Torr. & A. Gray is a rare morphologically intermediate hybrid between H. mollis and H. occidentalis ssp. occidentalis. Steyermark (1963) reported it from a mixed population of the parental species from Laclede County, and it also has been collected more recently in Howell County. Because H. occidentalis has the leaves greatly reduced above the stem base, hybrids derived from it are fairly easily recognizable in the field. Heiser et al. (1969) also stated that H. mollis hybridizes with a number of other sunflower species, including a few that occur in Missouri: H. divaricatus, H. grosseserratus, H. maximilianii, and H. microcephalus. A single late-season collection made by B. F. Bush in 1893 in Shannon County may represent a hybrid with H. divaricatus, but otherwise none of these hybrids has been discovered yet in Missouri, although H. mollis can be found in proximity to all but the last species in the state.



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