Maximilian's Sunflower - A Naturalist's Sunflower
A hardy and very showy perennial that towers above surrounding vegetation when in bloom. It sends annual stems up from an underground root crown, helping to spread and form dense plant clusters while reinforcing soil and preventing erosion. Its height ranges from 6 – 10 feet tall with numerous 5-inch diameter flower heads. Butterflies, beetles, and long- and short tongued bees consume the nectar and pollen. Butterfly caterpillars feed on the leaves.
It is named for the naturalist Prince Maximilian of Germany who led an expedition into the American West in the 1830's.
Experienced gardeners grow it near patios or doorways and gardens to repel mosquitoes. Often grown as a hedge or natural screen because of its height and density when mature. Organic growers use it to naturally filter or screen invasive weeds and their seeds from entering a property. The smaller flower heads make excellent additions to cut flower mixes. It is used as a conservation planting for habitat development and restoration, as well as range and pasture maintenance.