Wildflowers of the United States

Home Journal Family Index - All States Photo Albums News About Privacy

Dune Sunflower, Beach Sunflower, Cucumberleaf Sunflower, East Coast Dune Sunflower, Branching Sunflower - Helianthus debilis


Family: Asteraceae - Aster family Genus Common Name: Sunflower Native Status: Native
Helianthus debilis - Dune Sunflower, Beach Sunflower, Cucumberleaf Sunflower, East Coast Dune Sunflower, Branching Sunflower. The USDA Common name is Cucumberleaf Sunflower, but Beach Sunflower and Dune Sunflower seem to be the most commonly used common names. Until 1969, Helianthus debilis was considered to have 8 subspecies. In 1969, however, 3 of those subspecies found only in Texas were moved to the separate species Helianthus praecox (Texas Sunflower), leaving 5 subspecies in Helianthus debilis. Of these, Helianthus debilis ssp. silvestris is also found only in Texas. Subspecies debilis and vestitus are found only in Florida, and subspecies tardiflorus is found in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Subspecies cucumerifolius is the most widespread subspecies, found 17 mostly coastal states.

Found in:
AL, CT, FL, GA, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, NC, NH, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA, VT, WV

Leave comments on Helianthus debilis at this link.
Helianthus debilis

Distribution of Helianthus debilis in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 30 Mar 2017). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Search Our Database: Enter any portion of the Scientific, Common Name, or both.
Scientific name:
Common name:

Example: Enter "lob" in the common name field and you'll get all our species that have "lobelia" in the common name, as well as "sharp-lobed hepatica".

Do a general Google search of the entire site:



Follow on Twitter
Follow USWildflowers on Twitter














Site: Bradenton Beach, Manatee County, FL Date: 2011-December-20Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
The blossom of this composite will have between 11 and 20 yellow ray florets, and more than 30 disk florets. The disk florets are usually have dark reddish-brown lobes (although reported to occasionally be yellow) and a yellow corolla tube. The anthers are usually dark red. The blossom may be up to around 2.5 inches across. The plant may bloom year-round in the southern parts of its range.
Helianthus debilis

Site: Bradenton Beach, Manatee County, FL Date: 2011-December-20Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Leaf variations are amongst the attributes that help determine the subspecies. Most are alternate with petioles between 1/2" and 3 long. They usually have some degree of serration.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Helianthus debilis

Site: Desoto National Monument, Manatee County, FL Date: 2011-December-21Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Helianthus debilis can grow in large colonies, making an attractive ground cover.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Helianthus debilis

Site: Ft. Desoto County Park, Pinellas County, FL Date: 2011-December-19Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Dune Sunflower height is greatly variable. It can be less than a foot tall, or may reach 6 feet in height. The peduncles (flower stalks) may be between 3 and 20 long, depending on the subspecies.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Helianthus debilis

Site: Bradenton Beach, Manatee County, FL Date: 2011-December-20Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The involucre has 30 to 40 long, usually spreading phyllaries. They may be slightly hairy.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Helianthus debilis

Site: Bradenton Beach, Manatee County, FL Date: 2011-December-20Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
This sunflower is quite salt tolerant, and grows in sandy soil in full sun. The Dune Sunflower and Beach name is appropriate, as it can be found along the dunes at beaches along the coastal areas of its range.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Helianthus debilis

References used for identification and information:

Commercial / Cookie Notice

Looking for Wildflowers for a specific state? Check here:



All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer