Helianthus niveus, Showy Sunflower
Scientific Name: Helianthus niveus
Common Name: Showy Sunflower
Also Called: Algodone Sunflower, Snowy Sunflower
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Duration: Annual, Perennial
Size: Up to 5 feet tall, usually much less.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; stems strigose and stiff-spreading-hairy or soft-white appressed-hairy
Leaves: Green or gray-green; mostly alternate; long petioles; lanceolate to ovate; densely stiff- or soft-hairy.
Flower Color: Yellow with dark brown or red center; 1 to few flower heads; ray florets yellow, 13 to 21; lobes on disk florets red to dark purple in California; phyllaries 8-12mm more or less lanceolate, canescent to soft-hairy.
Flowering Season: March to June; flowers in photo taken March 09 near Anza-Borrego Springs, California.
Elevation: Below 1,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Open sandy or gravelly areas, open sunny areas, roadsides and disturbed areas, dry or moist areas.
Recorded Range: Showy Sunflower is found in the southwestern United States in AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX. It is also native to Baja California and northwest Mexico.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Helianthus niveus.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes, the Algodone Dunes Sunflower is list as "Rare or Endangered" in California.
CNPS: California Rare Plant Rank: 1B.2; Rare or endangered in California and elsewhere; .2: Fairly endangered in California
Genus Information: In North America there are about 50 species and 10 hybrids for Helianthus. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 71 accepted species names and a further 128 species of infraspecific rank for the genus.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 8 species of Helianthus, California has 11 species, Nevada has 7 species, New Mexico has 14 species, Texas has 21 species, Utah has 6 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.
There are 3 sub-species in Helianthus niveus;
Helianthus niveus ssp. canescens, Showy Sunflower, (AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX),
Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes, Algodone Dunes Sunflower, (AZ, CA),
Helianthus niveus ssp. niveus, (western Baja California).
Comments: Showy Sunflower is a forb/herb or sub-shrub with either stiff or soft hairs. Plants in photos above were found at Anza-Borrego Springs, CA in preferred sandy soil habitat growing side by side with Dune Evening Primrose, Oenothera deltoides, and Desert Sand Verbena, Abronia villosa.
There are approximately 50 species in the "Sunflower" genus Helianthus in North America of which 15 species in Helianthus and the Algodone Dunes Sunflower is listed as Rare and Endangered in California.