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Slender Sunflower Back to Plant Page
Helianthus gracilentus

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About Slender Sunflower (Helianthus gracilentus) Slender Sunflower is a species in the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family that is native to central and southern California and Baja California, where it is a member of the chaparral and yellow pine forest habitats. This is a perennial herb growing from a thick taproot to heights anywhere between one half and two meters. The lance-shaped, pointed leaves are smooth-edged or slightly toothed and up to about 11 centimeters long. The long, slender stems and foliage are covered in rough hairs. The flower cluster bears flower heads with an array of short, hairy phyllaries behind a thick center of yellow to red-brown disc florets. The golden ray florets around the edge are one to three centimeters long. Grows well in chaparral and yellow pine forest habitats.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb, Annual herb

Max. Height
1.6 - 6.6 ft (0.49 - 2 m)

Max. Width
.5 - 1 ft (0.2 - 0.3 m)

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Flat places with slightly more moisture in the Coast, Transverse and Peninsular Ranges, primarily from San Benito County southward.


Elevation ?
30' - 7890'

Annual Precip. ?
9.3" - 51.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.76"

Coldest Month ?
30.5° F - 54.5° F

Hottest Month ?
59.7° F - 83.1° F

Humidity ?
0.59 vpd - 33.81 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sand but tolerates garden soil

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 5° F

Sunset Zones ?
3, 7*, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Wildlife Attracted
Numerous insects, seed-eating birds

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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