Fall is a wonderful season for viewing wildflowers and there are many flower colors brightening our landscapes and roadsides. Amongst all the color there is one wildflower, the Rayless sunflower (Helianthus radula) that may not be nearly as showy but is very interesting in the landscape.
Many people will discover the Rayless sunflower in a moist area near the ditch or a drainage area. It has a basal set of leaves that blend into the surrounding grass. In summer a leafless stem about will emerge that is topped by a round flower with discs but no rays. It mostly appears brown but may offer a tinge of red or purple from the disc flowers.
Not everyone will appreciate the beauty of the rayless sunflower. It will be visited by pollinators and offers an attractive contrast to the greens of surrounding plant material. It is a plant suited to its preferred habitat and an understated treasure among native wildflowers.