Prairie Sunset


Denomination: 'Prairie Sunset'
Botanical Name: Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra
Applicant/Holder: Diboll, Neil
Prairie Nursery, Inc.
P.O. Box 306
Westfield, Wisconsin
United States of America
Breeder: Neil Diboll, Westfield, United States of America
Agent in Canada: Variety Rights Management
475 County Road 18
R.R. #2
Oxford Station, Ontario
K0G 1T0
Tel: 613-258-9015
Application Date: 2002-07-24
Application Number: 02-3157
Date abandoned: 2007-12-10

Variety Description

Variety used for comparison: 'Summer Sun'

Summary: 'Prairie Sunset' has larger plants with smaller flower diameter than 'Summer Sun'. The colour of the stems is dark purple for 'Prairie Sunset' while it is medium green for 'Summer Sun'. The leaf blade of 'Prairie Sunset' is dark green with conspicuous, purple venation while for 'Summer Sun', it is light to medium green. 'Prairie Sunset' has fewer ray florets per flower than 'Summer Sun'. The ray florets of'Prairie Sun' are yellow orange with a brown purple base while those of 'Summer Sun' are yellow orange only.


'Prairie Sun' is a vegetatively propagated, perennial heliopsis variety with upright bushy plant growth habit and a moderate degree of branching. The stems are dark purple with absent to very sparse pubescence. The leaves are simple type and positioned in an alternate pattern along the stem. The leaf blade is ovate in shape with an acute apex, cuneate base and serrate margin. The upper side of the leaf blade is dark green with conspicuous, purple veins. There is a petiole present.

'Prairie Sunset' begins flowering early and continues to flower for a long time. The flower is a head type inflorescence which develops singly at both terminal and axillary positions on the stem. The attitude of the flowers is erect. There are 10 to 17 ray florets per flower. The longitudinal axis of the majority of ray florets is straight. The upper side of the ray floret is yellow orange with a brown purple base and the disc floret is brown to orange brown.

Origin & Breeding History: 'Prairie Sunset' was discovered by Neil Diboll as a chance seedling in a field of Heliopsis helianthoides (L.) Sweet grown for commercial seed production. It was discovered in Westfield, Wisconsin, USA in the summer of 1994. 'Prairie Sunset' was selected for its unique bicoloured flowers on purple stems in combination with purple veined foliage.

Tests & Trials: The test and trial for 'Prairie Sunset' was conducted in a polyhouse during the summer of 2005 at Variety Rights Management in Oxford Station, Ontario. The trial included 15 plants of each variety. The plants were grown in 15 cm pots spaced 30 cm apart. All colour characteristics were determined using the 2001 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) colour chart and measured characteristics were based on ten plant measurements.

Comparison tables for 'Prairie Sunset' with reference variety 'Summer Sun'

Plant height (cm)

  'Prairie Sunset' 'Summer Sun'
mean 72.80 54.40
std. deviation 17.01 5.46

Plant width (cm)

  'Prairie Sunset' 'Summer Sun'
mean 52.70 40.20
std. deviation 6.90 7.67

Flower diameter (mm)

  'Prairie Sunset' 'Summer Sun'
mean 57.60 70.50
std. deviation 5.15 16.86

Number of ray florets per flower

  'Prairie Sunset' 'Summer Sun'
mean 13.90 56.25
std. deviation 2.17 4.51

Colour of upper side of ray floret (RHS)

  'Prairie Sunset' 'Summer Sun'
apex & center 16A/15A 16A/15A
base 178B 16A/15A

Colour of floret disc

  'Prairie Sunset' 'Summer Sun'
RHS 173A 163A

Click on image for larger view
Prairie Sunset
Heliopsis: 'Prairie Sunset' (left) with reference variety 'Summer Sun' (right)

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