2. Inula racemosa Hook. f. (Himalayas) – A rare but much increasing, locally naturalised escape from cultivation. Known from several localities near Kortrijk (Verloove 2008): discovered in 2001 (but obviously present since many years) along a newly built cycling track adjoining the railway yard of Marke and much extending in recent years. Further recorded (in smaller number) on a former dump in Rollegem since 2006. At both locations Inula racemosa was initially confused with I. helenium. More recently also seen – in the same area – in Harelbeke (De Gavers), Kortrijk-Hoge (waste land), Lauwe (former clay pit), etc. Furthermore known along river Schelde near Gavere (at least since 2006), near Haaltert, between Diepenbeek and Hasselt,…. In 2011 also seen for the first time in Wallonia (disused railway track near Leuze-en-Hainaut). Certainly under-recorded elsewhere. Today Inula racemosa is probably more popular in cultivation than I. helenium (especially cv. Sonnenspeer) and more likely to occur as a garden escape. Inula racemosa is found in similar habitats like I. helenium: damp meadows, slopes or waste land.
Inula racemosa and I. helenium are surely closely related (see also Verloove 2008) but typical plants are nevertheless easily distinguished. The former has a narrow inflorescence with most flowers (nearly) sessile (or with the short peduncles closely appressed to the stem), while in Inula helenium the inflorescence is much wider, corymbose with most flowers long-stalked and widely diverging. However, some populations are much less typical (inflorescence narrow but with several flowers long-pedicelled) and possibly represent hybrids between Inula helenium and I. racemosa. Such plants may be perfectly intermediate or approach either putative parent.
Shekhar S., Pandey A.K. & Anderberg A.A. (2013) The genus Inula (Asteraceae) in India. Rheedea 23(2): 113-127. [available online at: http://www.iaat.org.in/Rheedea23_113-127.pdf]
Verloove F. (2008) Enkele nieuwe neofyten in België en Noordwest-Frankrijk. Dumortiera 94: 1-8.