Thursday, October 16, 2014

Smooth Oxeye

Smooth Oxeye
Heliopsis helianthoides

Another common name for this plant is False Sunflower. Fortunately the USDA Plants Database has chosen the better name, Smooth Oxeye, as its common name. There are 54 species of plants in Indiana that have a False in its common name. False Solomon's Seal, Eastern False Rue Anemone, False Baby's Breath, False etc. Why are there so many false plants? Who decides which are true and which are false? How do the false plants feel about this?

This particular plant looks like a sunflower but unlike the Helianthus genus, the ray petals are fertile. This seems a bit ironic in that the true sunflowers have fake petals around the edge, presumably to attract pollinators, while the real flowers are tiny and bunched together in the middle of the flowerhead.

Note the little forked pistils that curl up from the base of the petal

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