Also known as Max sunflower, Helianthus maximiliani is almost shrub-like as it grows with several tall, leafy, unbranched stems of flowering tops to a height of 3-10 feet. Leaves are long and narrow, varying in length as it shortens towards the top. They are alternate, coarse, hairy, and are slightly toothed as they end in a point. Yellow flowers growing terminally from stalks or from leaf axils can be up to 5 inches across and have centers that are greenish brown. (Wildflower 2009)
Maximilian sunflower is native to Texas, but has spread through the central plains of the U.S. The sunflower gets its name from naturalist Prince Maximilian, who led an expedition to the American West during the 1830s.
While other species of the Helianthes genus, including H. annus and H. tuberosus, have edible young stems and tubers, while the Maximilian sunflower does not. Helianthus maximiliani species is, however, as a food source for animals (Wiersema 1999).
Wildflower Center of UT of Austin. http://www.wildflower.org/plants/ (Accessed on June 30, 2009) Search term: Helianthes maximiliani.
Wiersema, John H. World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference. CRC Press, 1999.