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This is a native species.

Helianthella quinquenervis

Helianthella quinquenervis

Helianthella quinquenervis

Helianthella quinquenervis

Helianthella quinquenervis

Helianthella quinquenervis (Five-nerved Sunflower, Little Sunflower)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, streamsides. Summer.
Above: Navajo Lake Trail, August 6, 2014; Lizard Head Trail, July 27, 2013; Navajo Lake Trail, September 22, 2020.
Left: Kilpacker Trail, July 8, 2004.

Helianthella quinquenervis, sometimes growing to an eye-catching four feet tall, is common, but scattered, in woodlands from the Aspen belt to the subalpine. Its bright yellow flowers are up to four inches in diameter, and its leaves are long and strap like. Basal leaves are numerous; stem leaves are few. 

Helianthella quinquenervis was first collected for science in 1843 in Wyoming near what we now call "Independence Rock" near the Sweetwater River but which Geyer described as "the hills of the upper Platte". In 1847 William Jackson Hooker described Geyer's plant and named it Helianthus quinquenervis. Asa Gray renamed it Helianthella quinquenervis in 1883.

The type specimen for the Helianthella genus was collected by Nathaniel Wyeth in 1832 on his return from his commercial trip across the continent. Wyeth gave his collection to his friend and noted botanist, Thomas Nuttall, who, in 1834, named it Helianthus uniflora. In 1841 Nuttall realized that the specimen really did not belong in the Helianthus genus and he renamed the plant Leighia uniflora. This genus name was rejected by Torrey and Gray and in 1842 they placed the species in a new genus, Helianthella; Wyeth's plant is now known as Helianthella uniflora.

"Helios" is Greek for "sun" and "anthos" for "flower". (See Helianthus annuus)."Ella" is a diminutive and thus "Helianthella" means "Little Sunflower" (even though H. quinquenervis is quite tall and its flower head is large). The specific epithet, "quinquenervis", is Latin for five-nerved (referring to the leaf veins, which may be only three).

Helianthella quinquenervis

Helianthella quinquenervis

Helianthella quinquenervis

Helianthella quinquenervis

Helianthella quinquenervis (Five-nerved Sunflower, Little Sunflower)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, streamsides. Summer.
Kilpacker Trail, July 8, 2004 and August 10, 2011; Geyser Trail, June 29, 2012;
Pass Creek Trail, July 27, 2009.

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Helianthella quinquenervis (Five-nerved Sunflower, Little Sunflower)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, streamsides. Summer.
Below American Basin, July 27, 2007.

Yellow ray flower petals are fading, a few disk flowers are still fresh in the center of the flower head, and green seeds are beginning to mature.

Helianthella quinquenervis

 Helianthella quinquenervis

Helianthella quinquenervis (Five-nerved Sunflower, Little Sunflower)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, streamsides. Summer.
Kilpacker Trail, July 8, 2004; Navajo Lake Trail, September 9, 2004.

Leaves are long, taper at both ends, and most often have 5 prominent veins but may have only three veins.

Fall colors begin to engulf leaves. Notice that there are no seed heads; they have been eaten by Bear, Deer, and/or Elk.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Helianthella quinquenervis