Sneezeweed, Helenium autumnale, as its species name implies, is a fall-blooming perennial native to most of North America. Easy to care for, it grows from 3 to 6 feet tall in sunny locations with good drainage. The common name refers to use of its flowers in their dried and powered form by Native Americans and early settlers as snuff. Inhaling this powder brought about sneezing fits that were thought to drive evil spirits from the body. European plant breeders have taken this native plant and developed a wide range of yellow, orange and red shades as well as varying heights.
• “What’s in Bloom” is a regular feature that runs during the year’s warmer months and features blooming plants at the city-owned Jensen-Olson Arboretum.