Botanical Name: Hymenoxys hoopesii
Species: H. hoopesii
*Dugaldia hoopesii (A.Gray) Rydb.
*Helenium hoopesii A.Gray 1864
*Heleniastrum hoopesii (A. Gray) Kuntze
Common Names:Helenium smooth, Owl’s claws and Orange sneezeweed
Helenium smooth is native to the western United States, where it grows in habitats of moderate elevation, such as mountain meadows in the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, southern Cascades, and other ranges. It has been found from Arizona, New Mexico, and central California north as far as Montana and Oregon.
Hymenoxys hoopesii is an erect perennial herb approaching a meter (40 inches) in height, with smooth-edged leaves, oval on the lower stem and lance-shaped toward the top. The inflorescence bears several flower heads on erect peduncles, each lined with a base of hairy, pointed phyllaries. The flower head has a center of 100–325 tiny disc florets fringed with 14–26 orange or yellow ray florets, each ray up to 3.5 centimeters (1.4 inches) long. The fruit is an achene with a pappus of scales.
Sneezeweed was so named not because the pollen causes hayfever- it is actually carried by insects – but the dried petals were used by Native Americans to stop sneezing fits. Heleniums like being in sun but with cool roots and divide best in spring as new shoots emerge. The ray florets are called petals here and the central disc florets, the cone.