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Common Name: Bitter Sneezeweed
Helenium amarum is an annual plant that can grow up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine..
All parts of the plant contain the glycoside gudaldin and can cause toxic symptoms in grazing animals. Cows that have eaten even a small amount of the plant produce extremely bitter, distasteful milk, whilst honey from the flowers is said to be bitter[
Eastern N. America - New York to Florida - west to Kansas and Texas.
Open ground, roadsides etc[
]. Open woods, fields, pastures and disturbed areas in Texas[
Grows well in ordinary garden soil[
]. Prefers a fertile moisture retentive soil in a sunny position[
]. Dislikes dry soils[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
A good bee and butterfly plant[
The whole plant is very aromatic[
The plant is used to clear the nose of mucus[
]. (Is it used as a snuff?[
A decoction of the entire plant can be used in a sweat bath to treat dropsy and swellings[
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.
If you have sufficient seed it would be worthwhile trying a sowing in situ outdoors in mid to late spring.