Heliopsis helianthoides False Sunflower
Ox-eye Sunflower Native Seeds and Potted Plants
(hee-lee-OP-sis  hee-lee-an-THOY-deez)

Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers
Native Wild Flower Plants and Seed
for Home Landscaping and Prairie Restoration john@easywildflowers.com

Heliopsis helianthoides False Sunflower Ox-eye Sunflower  flower picture Habitat Bloom Period Color Height Inches Moisture Plant Spacing Lifespan
hel.he3.jpg (26858 bytes) Sun to 
Lt. Shade
June - September Yellow 30 to 48 Dry to Moist 18 to 30 Inches Perennial

  additional false sunflower picture click on photo for larger image  Photo by cj

   Heliopsis helianthoides (False Sunflower) potted plants ARE available
$5.00 each plus Boxing/Shipping.
Contact  john@easywildflowers.com your address and number of plants
for shipping charges on potted plants

For our other native wildflowers visit the  Wildflower Potted Plant Price List

email questions, comments, and orders to john@easywildflowers.com 

 Heliopsis helianthoides seed
  False Sunflower seed

number of seeds

approximate coverage
in square feet

1 packet -  $

200 34 sq ft

1 ounce -  $

 9,700 480 sq ft

1 pound -  $

 155,200 7,760 sq ft

Heliopsis helianthoides, False Sunflower or Oxeye Sunflower, has many 2 to 3 inch golden yellow flowers that are beautiful when used in floral arrangements.  Native False Sunflower plants grow 2 to 6 feet tall in light shade to full sun and do best in average, well-drained, moist garden soil.  This hardy perennial tolerates drought but increases more rapidly in fertile soil.  Ox-eye Sunflowers attract nectar seeking butterflies and birds enjoy the ripe seeds.  This is an exceptionally long-blooming flower for the cutting garden. False Sunflower is accented well in a butterfly garden or prairie meadow when planted with coneflowers, blazing stars, Asters, and prairie grasses.

Heliopsis helianthoides, false sunflower, ox-eye sunflower is a versatile plant occurring naturally in prairies and savannas from Ontario and New York to Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and south to Missouri, Colorado, and New Mexico.   Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Seeds germinate without pretreatment.

Heliopsis = Sun
helianthoides = Resembling a sunflower

Alternate Names - Smooth Oxeye, False Sunflower, Oxeye, Oxeye Daisy, Heliopsis Sunflower


 It is reported that American Indians made a tea from this plant as a cure for various lung ailments.

 Landscaping and Wildlife:  Smooth oxeye is a very hardy plant that produces many attractive, yellow flowers throughout the summer.  It does well in flower gardens, especially in drier areas, and is relatively maintenance free.  It also makes an attractive roadside plant.  Insects are attracted to its bright flowers during the summer, and birds are attracted to its seed in the fall.

Description and Adaptation

Smooth Oxeye is a member of the daisy family, Asteraceae.  It is a vigorous, upright, native, perennial forb growing to .4-2 meters in height.  The stem is smooth while the leaves are coarsely serrated, having rough, siliceous-based hairs on both surfaces.   The stems may be topped with a single, yellow flower, or may branch in to multiple stems with many yellow flowers.  The flowers have 10 or more rays and are 3-7 cm in diameter.  Unlike sunflowers, each ray may form a fruit that yields a viable seed.  The seed is smooth and hard having four sides with fine hairs for wind distribution of seed.  It generally does not have a pappus.  Though it is a perennial, it is often short-lived.

 Distribution: This species is widely distributed across the eastern half of the United States, though it is most often found in the prairie regions of the central United States.  It prefers dry soil and open spaces, but will also tolerate moist areas.  It can often be found in disturbed areas.


Smooth Oxeye can be established from seed.  Planting should occur in the spring, between March and April.  Cold, damp stratification for 30 days at 4o C is suggested to improve germination, but is reportedly not necessary.  The seed may be drilled on 32-40 inch rows at 4.7 pounds per acre or broadcast at 5.2 pounds per acre.  The target rate is 45 PLS/ft when drilled and 15 PLS/ft2 when broadcasted. 


Smooth Oxeye is a very hardy plant with relatively few problems.  This species has proven to perform best in the 11.8+ cm (4.6 inches +) precipitation zone and moderate levels of N, P, K are desirable.  

 Pests and Potential Problems

Birds will feed on the seed of Smooth Oxeye in the fall.  This may be of concern to the commercial growers.    Plant size often inhibits cultivation after 8 weeks when planted in rows. 

The map below shows areas where native false Sunflower plants grow wild but it can be planted and will grow over a much wider area than shown.  USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9.

Heliopsis helianthoides
False Sunflower


New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota

Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

State Distributional Map for HEHE5


contact  john@easywildflowers.com with your address
for shipping charges and availability on potted plants

We accept payment by check, money order, and through Paypal


  Flower Pictures   Wildflower Potted Plant Price list     

Easyliving Wildflowers
PO Box  522
Willow Springs,  MO.  65793
Phone 417-469-2611 

We accept payment by check or money order and through PayPal

e-mail questions, comments, and orders to  john@easywildflowers.com

Heliopsis helianthoides, false sunflower, ox-eye sunflower plant distribution map complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
  (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

















Alternate Names Oxeye Daisy, False Sunflower, Oxeye, Heliopsis Sunflower, sunflower Heliopsis
Forage: Livestock and deer sometimes graze smooth oxeye (Haddock, 2005). Its importance as a forage ranges from poor to good for cattle and sheep.
Landscape: Smooth oxeye is considered one of the best hardy plants for a wildflower garden border (Runkel and Roosa, 1989). It is considered especially suited and valuable for planting in dry locations. The flowering period can be extended by removing spent flowers.
Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).
General: The name Heliopsis is Greek in origin and means “sun-eye” and helianthoides is also Greek for “like a sunflower” (Denison, 1989). Smooth oxeye is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It is a vigorous, upright, native, perennial forb growing .5 to 1.5 meters (m) in height. The smooth, unbranched stem arises from a fibrous rooted caudex that develops stout rhizomes. The leaves are oppositely attached to the stem and have coarsely serrated margins. The leaves are triple nerved, petiolate (have short leaf petioles) and are broadly lance shaped tapering to a sharp point at the tip and are abruptly rounded at the base. The leaves are dark green above and lighter green below with siliceous based hairs that provide a rough texture on both surfaces. The stem apex may contain a single flower head or branch into multiple stems with many yellow flowers (Owensby, 1989). The flowers of Heliopsis have both orange-yellow center disk and yellow ray flowers. Individual flowers have 10 or more ray flowers. The ray flowers are fertile with a forked pistil (female flower parts) at their base, but contain no male flower parts (Lommasson, 1973). The central disk flowers are perfect in that they contain both male and female flower parts (Runkel and Roosa, 1989). The fruit is a smooth three or four angled achene, usually without a pappus or crown of hairs that aids in wind dissemination (Runkel and Roosa, 1989). Ray flowers produce the three angled achene and disk flower produce the more common 4 angled achene.
Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Habitat: It is located in dry areas, edges of woods, roadsides, open woods, edges of fields and thickets. It can be found growing in the eastern half of Kansas and Nebraska and statewide in Missouri. It is found growing in association with warm season grasses of the tallgrass prairie. Although seldom abundant it is widely scattered among prairie grasses in glades and along stream and creek banks.
Smooth oxeye is adapted to full sunlight and dry to moderately moist soil conditions. It can be found growing in waste areas, roadsides, open woods, and edge of fields and thickets. It can be found on most tallgrass prairie sites and other open spaces, especially on dry soils (Runkel and Roosa, 1989). This species tolerates some drought and also a wide range of soil types, including nutrient poor soils.
Plantings of Heliopsis seed should be made on a well prepared, weed free, firm seed bed. Fallowing fields prior to planting can have advantages in control of undesirable weeds and to ensure that no herbicide residues remain in the soil of the field. Smooth oxeye fields planted for seed production should be in rows (0.8 to 1.0 m) apart. A field
with rows that are spaced approximately 0.9 m apart should have about 45 Pure Live Seeds (PLS) per 0.3 m of row. Seed planted in the spring between March and April should produce vigorous seedlings and can be expected to produce a seed crop the first growing season.
Heliopsis will produce seed during its establishment year if environmental and management conditions are ideal. Seed maturity can be expected from mid-August to early September. Seed shatter can be a problem when the majority of seed heads have turned brown and seed maturity is reached. Harvest of smooth oxeye can be performed with a conventional combine with the proper settings and adjustments. The equipment settings offered here should be considered a starting point and modified as harvest demands change. Combine settings: 1) concave clearance 12 mm, 2) Cylinder speed 1000 RPMs, and 3) air intake at 15 percent. These settings are based on years of harvest experience at the PMC in Manhattan, KS. Freshly combined material should be dried carefully at no greater temperature than 43 degrees Centigrade (ºC) with a forced air system. Seed yield of native plant species can be variable, with production yields of 65 to 244 kg/ha. Under good growing conditions and proper management, smooth oxeye can be maintained in seed production stands for up to five years. Thus it may be considered a short lived perennial plant.
Pests and Potential Problems
Smooth oxeye has no serious insect or disease problems, but has been observed to have some susceptibility to aphid attack.
Environmental Concerns
There are no environmental concerns or probability of this plant becoming a weed problem in cultivated agricultural systems or pasture lands. Rock (1981) however, indicates that Heliopsis may spread widely and has the tendency to become weedy in landscapes.
Seeds and Plant Production
The normal method of propagation of this species is through seed (achenes). Spring planting of this species is recommended. A cold, moist stratification period of 30 days at 4ºC can improve germination. Zlesak (2007) found that although the responses to germination cues were variable, improved germination of H. helianthoides can be generally achieved by imbibing ethephon (1 to 5 mM), exposure to red light (1.5 h), and providing at least one week of cold stratification (4ºC). There are approximately 277,200 achenes per kilogram. According to the Prairie Propagation Handbook (Rock, 1981) Heliopsis is easily seeded and divided, with division commonly being done in the fall. Rock (1981) also indicates that this species is easily transplanted and can be propagated using stem cuttings in the spring.