Wild Flowers of Pittsburgh

Ox-Eye (Heliopsis helianthoides)

A tall, sunflower-like plant that grows at the edge of the woods; this one was growing where the woods met a parking lot at a park in Beechview.

Flowers. Heads on long terminal stalks; disk florets numerous, golden yellow; rays about 10 to 12, linear-elliptical, golden yellow, to orange at base, with two prominent and numerous lesser parallel ribs, very slight notch at end.

Leaves. Mostly smooth; undersides rough at edges; oval, pointed, toothed; lower leaves with nearly flat base, upper leaves more rounded; net-veined, with very strong ribs; opposite, but upper sometimes alternate; upper not quite sessile, lower on short petioles; dark green above, much lighter below.

Stem. Smooth, strong, with whitish bloom; some stems purplish toward base; to 4 feet or more, branching.

Gray describes the genus and the species:

HELIÓPSIS Pers. OX-EYE. Heads many-flowered; rays 10 or more, fertile. Involucral bracts in 2 or 8 rows, nearly equal; the outer leaf-like and somewhat spreading, the inner shorter than the disk. Receptacle conical; chaff linear. Achenes smooth, thick, 4-angular, truncate; pappus none, or a mere border. — Perennial herbs, resembling Helianthus. Heads showy, peduneled, terminal. Leaves opposite, petioled, triple-ribbed, serrate. Flowers yellow. (Name from heliossun, and opsisappearance, from the likeness to the Sunflower.)

H. helianthoides (L.) Sweet. Nearly smooth, 0.3-1.5 m. high; leaves ovate-lanceolate or oblong-ovate, rather narrowly pointed, occasionally teníate; bracts with a rigid strongly nerved base; rays linear; pappus none or of 2-4 obscure teeth. (H. laevis Pers.) — Banks and copses, Ont. to Ill., and southw. Aug.

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