CPC Plant Profile: Algodones Dunes Sunflower
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Plant Profile

Algodones Dunes Sunflower (Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes)

The solitary, yellow-petalled flower head of Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes. Photo Credit: Lynda Pritchett-Kozak
  • Global Rank: T2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • State: AZ, CA, MX, SI
  • Nature Serve ID: 134857
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/14/1986

This beautiful sunflower grows in Dune ecosystems of California. Plants are perennials form long tap roots and can grow up to one meter in height. The leaves are all opposite or nearly alternate, and spathulate, with white, or grayish sericeous hairs appressed on the surfaces. The flower heads are solitary, with the corollas from reddish purple to nearly yellow.

Participating Institutions
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  • 09/15/2020
  • Genetic Research

Chromosome differences (Chandler 1986) and variation in sunflower species has been studied (Heiser 1954, 1955, 1957).

  • 09/15/2020
  • Propagation Research

Germination (Chandler and Jan 1985).

  • 09/15/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Additional seed collections are needed.

  • 09/15/2020
  • Seed Collection

Additional seed collections are needed.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes occurs in Imperial County, California, southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Threats include off road vehicle use.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include off-road vehicle use, and development of dunes for agriculture, roads and housing.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

There are four sites documented within U.S. boundaries.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Germination (Chandler and Jan 1985), chromosome differences (Chandler 1986) and variation in sunflower species has been studied (Heiser 1954, 1955, 1957).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Populations are monitored at Algodones Dunes in California (Bureau of Land Management 2000).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Management needs include focusing on enforcing laws regarding illegal off-road vehicular use and initiate planning strategies that allow for plant conservation. Research needs include understanding abiotic/biotic influences on population dynamics.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Additional seed collections are needed.


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Taxon Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes
Authority (A. Gray) Heiser
Family Asteraceae
CPC Number 2200
ITIS 36661
Common Names desert sunflower | Algodones sunflower
Associated Scientific Names Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes | Helianthus tephrodes
Distribution California
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona S2
California S2
Mexico *FR83

Plants are limited to the loose sand dunes of Baja, California, which extend north into southern Arizona and northern California. Associated species include Eriogonum deserticola, Palofoxia arida, Tiquilia plicata, Ephedra trifurca, Oenothera deltoides and Pholisma sonorae.

Ecological Relationships

Ecological relationships are unknown.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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