Helenium is a genus of annuals and herbaceous perennial plants in the family Asteraceae, native to the Americas.[3][4]

They bear yellow or orange daisy-like composite flowers. A number of these species (particularly Helenium autumnale) have the common name sneezeweed, based on the former use of their dried leaves in making snuff. It was inhaled to cause sneezing that would supposedly rid the body of evil spirits. Larger species may grow up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) tall.[5]

The genus is named for Helen of Troy, daughter of Zeus and Leda.[6][7]

Helenium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Phymatopus behrensii.

Genus level properties: most conspicuously globe-like disk-shaped flowers, rays three-lobed at tip.




Helenium hybrid "Moerheim Beauty" [1].

Numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use - mainly from H. autumnale and H. bigelovii. They are useful for late summer and fall bloom, usually in less formal compositions. They are appropriate for native gardens in areas where they are indigenous, and they look wonderfully in bouquets. Annual species are easily grown from seed, and perennials should be divided every year in order to retain their vigor. The soil should be fertile with a generous amount of organic manner in the form of compost, manure or other decayed organic matter in addition to, perhaps, an application of a complete fertilizer in spring. Heleniums should be grown in full sun average to moist soil with good drainage. They are drought tolerant, but should be watered on planting and regularly until established.


The following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-[10]

The UK National Collection of heleniums is located at Yew Tree House, Hall Lane, Hankelow. near Audlem in Cheshire.[24][25]


  1. ^ Tropicos, search for Helenium
  2. ^ a b Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist
  3. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 886 in Latin
  4. ^ Tropicos, Helenium L
  5. ^ Hughes-Jones 2012, p. 38
  6. ^ Flora of North America Vol. 21 Page 426 Sneezeweed Helenium Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 886. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 377. 1754.
  7. ^ Homer. Circa 760–710 BCE. Iliad.
  8. ^ Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution maps
  9. ^ Turner, B. L. 2013. The comps of Mexico. A systematic account of the family Asteraceae (chapter 11: tribe Helenieae). Phytologia Memoirs 16: 1–100
  10. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 43. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Baudirektor Linne'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Blütentisch'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  13. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Butterpat'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Helenium 'Dunkle Pracht'". RHS. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  15. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Feuersiegel'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  16. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Gartensonne'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  17. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Karneol'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  18. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  19. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Ring of Fire'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  20. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Rubinzwerg'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  21. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  22. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Waltraut'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  23. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Helenium 'Wesergold'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  24. ^ Welcome to Chester & Cheshire, Helenium National Collection Weekend
  25. ^ Special Perennials, National Collections of Helenium and Centaurea, Hankelow, Cheshire, United Kingdom


  • Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L.; Little, C.R. (2007). Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. ISBN 0-89672-614-2
  • Hughes-Jones, Martin (2012). "Soaking up the sun". The Garden. 137 (8). Peterborough: Royal Horticultural Society: 36–40.
  • Media related to Helenium at Wikimedia Commons