Helianthus decapetalus, commonly known as the thinleaf sunflower, is a common native plant in Eastern US. It belongs to the same genus as the garden variety sunflower (Helianathus), unlike the common sunflower, these plants are perennials. The commonly grown sunflower is an annual plant, gardeners have avoided growing perennial varieties of sunflowers because of their propensity to spread and become “invasive” rapidly.
The plant serves as a host and a food source for a diverse array of native bugs. The seeds produced are food for birds, and so are the insects that are attracted to the plant.
I would highly recommend the thinleaf sunflower to any new gardener. They bloom in late summer – early fall in a beautiful display lasts for a few weeks, with fresh flowers blooming every few days.
An advantage of growing native species, of course, is the insects that visit your garden. Photographed here is what I believe to be a Green sweat bee, covered in pollen, hopping from one flower to the next. Slide through these two slideshows to see a bee fly away.