Pecos Sunflower

Endangered Plant Species Native to Texas

Background Information

The Pecos sunflower is a wetland annual plant that grows on wet, alkaline soils at spring seeps, wet meadows and pond margins. Abundance can vary from year to year depending on water availability. Its occurrence in desert wetland habitat is unique. The species was listed as threatened on October 20, 1999, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The species is listed as threatened in the State of Texas. Populations vary from less than 100 individuals to several hundred thousand individuals.

Pecos Sunflowers are also found in New Mexico.

Threats and Causes of Endangerment

Loss and alteration of wetland habitat are the primary threat to Pecos sunflower, primarily by surface water diversion and wetland filling for agriculture and recreational uses, and groundwater pumping and aquifer depletion for municipal uses. The species is potentially out competed by nonnative invasive vegetation, and impacted by land management activities

Solutions and Successes

Identifying and securing core conservation areas essential for the long-term survival of this species, continuing life history, population, and habitat studies, and ensuring compliance with existing regulations are solutions to save the flower. Some core conservation areas have already been secured. The Nature Conservancy manages a large population of Pecos sunflower at its Diamond Y Springs Preserve in West Texas.


  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Scientific Name: Helianthus paradoxus Heiser

  • Vernacular Name: Pecos sunflower
  • Grows yearly and up to 6 feet tall
  • Branched above