Ox-Eye (Sunflower Heliopsis; False Sunflower)

Heliopsis helianthoides
Family: 
Asteraceae (daisies, sunflowers)
Description: 

A clump-forming, spreading, branched, sunflower-like, short-lived perennial of variable height. Flowerheads about 2 inches across, distinctly orange-yellow when young, fading to light yellow; rays 8–15, usually 10. Blooms May–September. Leaves opposite on long petioles, broadly ovate to nearly triangular, without hair; with large, regular teeth. Seeds angular, while those of Helianthus species are flat.

Similar species: This is the only species of Heliopsis in Missouri. You can distinguish it from the many closely related true sunflowers (genus Helianthus) by its conical central disk and by its ray flowers, which dry out but persist, instead of withering and falling off.

Size: 
Height: 2–5 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in dry areas, edges of woods, roadsides, railroads, fields, and waste places. Also prairies, thickets, and open woodlands.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide, but apparently absent from the Southeast Lowlands.
Human connections: 
Ox-eye is a good native plant for sunny Missouri gardens. It tolerates dry spells, erosion, and poor soils, and its showy, butterfly-attracting flowers can be cut and used in arrangements. Several cultivars are available. Heliopsis is Greek for “sun-eye,” and helianthoides means “like a sunflower.”
Ecosystem connections: 
Butterflies, skippers, and other insects visit the flowers for nectar, and birds, such as finches, and rodents eat the seeds.
Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/28333