Helenium autumnale is a perennial herb, 50-150 cm tall, roots fibrous.
Leaves alternate, almost stalkless, blade 4-15 cm long, 0.5-4 cm wide, narrowly elliptic, pointed at both ends, base extending along stem as wings, lower leaves deciduous
Flowers yellow, rays 13-21, 1.5-2.5 cm long, wedge-shaped, tips 3-lobed, disk yellow, 0.8-2 cm wide, domed, heads mostly solitary on leafy inflorescence branch tips, basal bracts in 2-3 rows, green; blooms and fruits Aug.-Oct.
Fruit dry, 1-seeded achene, crowned by small scales.
Wetland status: FACW+.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Rich, moist thickets, shores, soil pH 4.0-7.5 (USDA, NRCS 2007).
Notes: May be toxic (Kingsbury 1964).