Helianthus annuus
(Common Sunflower)

Other pictures of this plant:

               Seedpod                                           Leaf                                            Stem                                        Seed                                          Habit

Facts About this Plant:

    Common Names: Common Sunflower, Sunflower
    Lifespan: Annual
    Zones: N/A
    Type: Forb
    Bloom Time: July - October
    Status: Native

Helianthus annuus, or Common Sunflower, is perhaps one of the most well-known flowers the entire world over. It is a native of the central and western United States, and is adventive throughout the entire continental US. It is an annual that grows in dry, open areas, like fields, prairies, roadsides and along woodland edges. This plant has spawned hundreds of different cultivars - that is, plants that have been selectively grown by gardeners to exhibit certain traits. However, the native, wild form is an annual that has many large flowers with bright yellow flowers and and a brown center. Many of the cultivated varities have different color flowers, and often have only one (sometimes very) large flower on the top of a big stalk. The plant is a very important source of edible oils and seeds for both humans and animals.

This plant can be distinguished from other similar plants by:

  • its annual nature - most Helianthus species are perennials
  • its large size - often growing 6 - 8 feet tall; cultivars can be even larger
  • its bright yellow flowers with brown centers
  • its spade-shaped leaves

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