The purple-disk sunflower, from Diane, SC

Posted on |

Hi, Dr. Hill,
This is one of many yellow wildflowers that I’m still trying to identify. I photographed this on August 18, growing in full sun along a back country road in the SC fall line area. I returned a week later to take a picture of the back of the flower head, hoping it would lead me to an identification. No luck. I’m also enclosing photos of the leaf front as well as the upper leaves (rounded) and those lower (longer) on the plant and which are differently shaped from one another. Thank you.


Hi Diane,

this is a type of sunflower, named Helianthus atrorubens, the purple-disk sunflower.  I usually see it on the Blue Ridge in South Carolina, especially in Oconee County.  It is wide ranging in the Southeastern States, north to southern Illinois. The bracts behind the flower heads have a very distinctive shape – being blunt, wide, and slightly reflexed at the tip.  Also, there are only a very few paired leaves on the stems.


Steve Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

Comments are closed.