Featured Flower: Dwarf Helenium (Helenium amarum)


One of our native wildflowers, Helenium amarum, comes from the genus, Helenium, believed to be named after Helen of Troy. The species name, amarum, means bitter, which refers to the bitter taste of the plants. Other common names are Bitterweed, American Bitterweed and Bitter Sneezeweed.


Dwarf Helenium is a native annual from Texas, the Southeastern and Midwestern U.S. It is typically found in prairies, pastures, woodland openings and along roadsides. Plants grow to 12 inches high, have a mounding habit and have very fine, thread-like leaves. They have bright yellow flowers and are very long-blooming; flowering occurs from summer through early fall.

Dwarf Helenium prefers full sun and is tolerant of many soil types. Because of its short stature and the fact that dead-heading is unnecessary, it is recommended for garden beds & borders, hanging baskets, containers and the rock garden. Since it is drought-tolerant, Dwarf Helenium is also ideal for xeriscape gardening. Other uses include native wildflower meadows, reclamation mixes, and pollinator conservation mixes. It is a valuable component of pollinator mixes because it provides late season bloom in the first planting season. Pollinator visitors are primarily small, native bees such as sweat bees, but native wasps, beetles and butterflies are fairly common as well.


Dwarf Helenium is adaptable to many areas of the United States. The recommended planting range is the arid west, Texas, southeast and Midwest. It is one of our underutilized native wildflowers.