Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Purpledisk Sunflower - Helianthus atrorubens   L.
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Helianthus with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
Show/Hide Synonym
DistributionThroughout the state; apparently scarce in the northeastern corner and absent from the Outer Banks.

VA and KY south to FL and LA.
AbundanceCommon in the Piedmont and most of the Coastal Plain; fairly common to common in the Mountains, except less numerous in the northern Mountains. Very rare to absent in the northeastern Coastal Plain. Unlike most other sunflowers, it usually occurs as single plants or small populations.
HabitatDry-mesic sandy, clayey or rocky soil of woodlands and open forests, pinelands, borders and roadbanks, clearings, and powerlines.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late July-October.
IdentificationPurpledisk Sunflower typically grows 2-5.5 feet tall from ovate, toothed, stalked, basal and lower leaves. Stem leaves typically are 3-6 (-8) pairs, smaller and narrower than lower ones. Heads are few to several from long stalks, with yellow rays and deep red-purple-brownish disks. Variableleaf Sunflower (H. heterophyllus) has even fewer stem leaves, which are much smaller and narrower than basal ones. Purpledisk Sunflower is an easily identified species away from savannas, as it has a nearly "naked" stem and strongly purple-brown disk.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Dark-eyed Sunflower
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieAnson Co., same data. AnsonPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieMesic roadside SR 1634. 2 Sept 2009. AnsonPhoto_natural
Select a source
Select an occurrence type