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Witch hazel – flowers and foliage

Native helenium - or not-so-sneezeweed

Heleniumautumnale500 We went to walk a section of the Appalachian Trail the other day. We opted for a section of boardwalk across a swamp in northern New Jersey – a lovely stroll, with sections through the shade of trees for a little respite from the heat and probably the easiest walk on the whole trail!

There were some interesting plants to be seen, but none stood out like Common Sneezeweed, Helenium autumnale. In brilliant butter yellow it proved how colourful natural, un-“improved” native plants can be.

And let’s be clear, it doesn’t make people sneeze – the pollen is too heavy to be blown on the wind anyway. But native Americans used to use the dried flowers and leaves to make a kind of snuff – and that would certainly make you sneeze.