Woolly sunflower (var. lantatum) as seen atop the Columbia Hills about one-half mile east of Stacker Butte........May 2004.
Woolly sunflower is an attractive wildflower, with woolly-haired herbage and bright yellow flower heads. The upper stem leaves are linear, but the lower leaves are pinnately dissected. The leaves range from 1-8 cm long. The leaves and stems are covered with gray, woolly hairs.
Woolly sunflower has numerous flower heads, each with a dime-sized yellow central disk surrounded by 8-14 yellow ray flowers. A common plant of drier, often rocky slopes. Flowers from May to August.
Variety lanatum has large heads, with the involucre 9-12 mm in height, and the rays about 1- 2 cm in length. The number of rays ranges from 8- 13. The leaves are entire to pinnatified. This variety ranges from 10- 60 cm tall. It is found west of the Cascade crest as well as along the eastern edge of the Cascades, and may be found sporadically through southeastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, central Idaho, and extreme western Montana.
Variety integrifolium is shorter (10- 25 cm in height) than variety lanatum. It has alternate leaves which are entire or trilobate at the tips. It is found exclusively east of the Cascade crest.
Open, dry places from the lowlands to above timberline.
Found from southern British Columbia, mostly east of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada summits to southern California, east to western Montana, southeast Idaho, and northeast Nevada.
In the Columbia River Gorge, variety lanatum is found between 100'-4200' from the west end of the gorge to just west of The Dalles, OR. A discoid version of variety lanatum is found between 400'-4200' between the Wind and White Salmon Rivers, and also at Conboy National Wildlife Refuge. Variety integrifolium is found between 0'-3000' from Hood River, OR and hence east.
This species is an interesting addition to the wildflower garden, and the variety lanatum is able to survive the wet winters west of the Cascades, although it must be given plenty of space as it can become leggy and needs to be cut back on occasion. I also find them easy to establish as stem cuttings in late fall or late winter by sticking the cut stems in the soil in various parts of my garden!