Updated: Nov 3
This week’s Wildflower Wednesday feature flower is Sneezeweed.
Sneezeweed is a native fall booming flower found in wetlands and damp areas.
Despite its name, sneezeweed does not cause sneezing, its pollen is heavy and sticky and not easily inhaled. It is pollenated by insects not by the wind.
The name comes from its original use as snuff. Its dried leaves were crushed into a powder and inhaled causing sneezing. Violent sneezing was believed to cast out evil spirits and get rid of colds and diseases.
Its genus name is Helenium Autumnale, which has roots in Greek Mythology. Myth has it that Helenium grew from the ground soaked with the tears of Helen of Troy. Helen of Troy is the daughter of Zeusand Spartan queen Leda and was considered the most beautiful women in the world.
Sneezeweed represents tenderness and tears.