Tickseed Sunflower

By William T. Hathaway

Tickseed Sunflower

Along comes August and certain fields, ditches and waysides are on display with large clumps or colonies of bright-yellow flowers. Now and then a field may be completely covered with a golden blanket. From the Staunton River in the north to the Dan River in the south the prolific Tickseed Sunflower has gained a foothold throughout Pittsylvania County.

As beautiful as the flowers may be, we dread the result of walking through stands of mature plants. Its seeds, with two sharp, jagged spears atop the hull, cling to our clothing with the persistence of a tick. This species is not in the true sunflower genus but is related to the “Spanish needles” that most of us remember from our childhood.


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