Helianthus argophyllus

Helianthus argophyllus Torr. & A. Gray

Common Names: Silver Leaf Sunflower

Family: Asteraceae

Habit: Helianthus argophyllus is an annual shrub to 3 m in height with densely white/silver, pubescent stems. The leaves are arranged alternately, to 15 cm in length, ovate, with an entire (sometimes slightly serrate) leaf margin and an obtuse to acute leaf apex.

The actinomorphic flowers are arranged in heads. The heads are subtended by a series of involucral bracts. The calyx is modified as a ring of hairs (pappus).  There are both perfect and imperfect (carpellate) flowers in the heads. The perfect flowers are in the center and the imperfect flowers are arranged around the edge of the heads. Each flower is subtended by bracts.

The imperfect flowers have 3 (fused into 1) petals and no stamens. The perfect flowers have a corolla with 5 fused, yellow petals.  There are 5 stamens fused at their base. In both types of flowers, the ovary is inferior with a single locule but only the perfect flowers have functional ovules.  The fruit is a pubescent achene at maturity that retains the modified calyx (pappus) as 2 awns.

Habitat: Helianthus argophyllus in Human Altered environments (yards, gardens, fields, waste areas).

Distribution: Helianthus argophyllus is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but is found in the northern and central island groupings. It is native to the southern United States but is now spread to parts of southern Africa, Australia, and Indonesia.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Helianthus argophyllus is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

It has been used in the horticultural industry.