Height 2-5 feet Full Sun/Part Sun Perennial Zones 3-8
Common sneezeweed is also known as Helen's flower, bitterweed, autumn sneezeweed, and false sunflower. The genus name, Helenium, refers to the famous Helen of Troy. There is a legend that these flowers sprang from the ground where Helen's tears fell. The species name, autumnale, refers to the season of the flower's blooming—autumn. Synonyms for the scientific name include Helenium canaliculatum, H. latifolium, and H. parviflorum.
According to a 1923 publication by H. Smith of the Milwaukee Public Museum, the name given to the plant by the Menominee Indians of the Wisconsin area is "aiatci'a ni'tcîkûn," which means "sneezing spasmodically". With its large showy flowers, insects pollinate common sneezeweed, not wind. Therefore, it does not have small pollen grains, like ragweed does, which cause sneezing and other hay fever symptoms. This is not the reason for the Menominee and English names for the plant. The common name is based on historic use of the crushed dried leaves and heads to make a form of snuff that caused sneezing. In certain cultures and times, sneezing was regarded as a desirable way to rid the body of evil spirits or a way to loosen up a head cold, so that a sneeze-producing remedy was desirable. - USDA Forest Service