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Native plant of the month: Helianthus angustifolius (swamp sunflower)

Yellow is the color of October in my prairie. It seems like every plant with a yellow fower is flowering now: the goldenrods and many species of the Aster family: bidens, coreopss, Rudbeckia and Heliantus. Swamp sunflower is commonly distributed in wet, disturbed areas of Louisiana and southwest Texas but is also found in upland sites and prairies, floodplains and bottomlands. The glossy green alternative leaves are linear, with edges curling under, borne on stalks 3-6 ft high. When planted in flowerbeds, it is wise to stake hte plants at about 2 feet while they are short, for support as they grow through tropical storm and hurricane season. The flowers are buttery yellow, borne in clusters. It is an excellent pollen source for native bees and the seeds attract an assortnment of birds, includin goldfinche, dove, quail, Eastern meadowlark, redwing blackbird, Savannah sparrow and white-breasted nuthatch. The plant provides forage for deer, cattle and muskrat

-Dona Weifenbach

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