Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Whiteleaf Sunflower - Helianthus glaucophyllus   D.M. Smith
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Helianthus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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AuthorD.M. Smith
DistributionLow to middle elevations in the Mountains, and extreme upper Piedmont.

Endemic to western NC, northwestern SC, and eastern TN.
AbundanceUncommon to fairly common, at least locally -- north to Watauga County. Quite rare north to Alleghany County, as it is not known from VA. This was formerly listed as a rare species by the NCNHP, but it is not now even on its Watch List. The species was either mostly overlooked by early botanists, or it has greatly increased in the last 30-40 years, as records have greatly increased. It is a rather easily identified species, and one must wonder how there could have been only three counties where collected when RAB (1968) was published!
HabitatGaps and openings in rich montane forests and woodlands, such as along logging and other roads; wooded roadbanks.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-September.
IdentificationPlants generally grow 3-6 feet tall, with smooth and usually glaucous stems. Leaves are lance-shaped or lance-ovate, toothed, smooth to roughish above, smooth and glaucous beneath, 3-7 inches long. The heads are relatively small, with yellow disks and only 5-8 yellow rays. The small size of the heads recalls H. microcephalus, but that species has green and rather hairy undersides of leaves. Normally, to identify the species, look at the underside of the leaf, and it should be whitish as opposed to light or medium green of similar species. At times, the whitish to very pale green leaf undersides can be easily seen from a moving vehicle along forest roads.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS3
Global RankG3G4
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