Visit Caldwell Park in Oskaloosa to See Native Sunflowers in Full Bloom

Caldwell Park on the East side of Oskaloosa along State Highway 92 and adjacent to the Environmental Learning Center is a great place to see Helianthus maximiliani, a native sunflower. While its intensely yellow flowers are only about 4 inches in diameter compared to dinner plate-sized blooms on other sunflower hybrids, this display of sunflowers covers much of 4–5 acres and it is visible from the road. It was seeded by Mahaska County about five years ago and the Helianthus is achieving critical mass among the prairie grasses. This year, bloom started a little later than usual but it has been going strong for the past two weeks or so. With cooling weather, it won’t last much longer. Each sunflower plant is about six feet tall and it has flowers growing all along its main stem.

The best time to see the sunflowers is in the late morning when the sun is out. The yellow in the flowers is very intense. By the way, whereas most sunflowers are annuals, this sunflower is perennial and is rhizomatous (it spreads by its roots) so it doesn’t have to be seeded every year.

The Maple Woods Vineyard is located a short distance north of Highway 92.