Plant of the Month Pages

Common Sunflower
- Helianthus annus

Common Name(s):Common Sunflower
Scientific Name:Helianthus annus
Family:Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Plant Type:Annual
Size:up to 8 feet high
Habitat:fields, roadsides and trailsides
Blooms:January to December
Fire Response:Stump Sprout or Seed

Common Sunflower blooms from February to October, nearly all year. It is similar in appearance to Slender Sunflower, but larger and more stout.

The large radiant flowers punctuate the tops of long erect stems, with yellow ray flowers and brownish purple disk flowers, overall varying from 2 to 6 inches in diameter. The leaves are oval shaped with sawtoothed edges and can be as big as 10 inches in diameter. Flowers have a sticky feel, while leaves and stems are hairy and rough.

The giant sunflower you normally see in gardens is a relative of this native. The genus name Helianthus is from two Greek words meaning "sun" and "flower". The species name annus means "annual". Native people used not only the seeds as food, but cultivated fibers from the stems and made a dye from the flowers.

Contributed by George Sherman
Aster diagram provided by Jenn Deutscher Link to the artist's website

Featured Plants in the Asteraceae (Sunflower) Family:

Common Sunflower - Originally featured: September 2013
Last modified: May 17 2024 14:21:09.
Number of Images: 9
Image Size Total: 1,582,254


Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Chumash Ethnobotany: Plant Knowledge Among the Chumash People, by Jan Timbrook
Leaf Shapes Primer - Botanical Terms for Leaves: - Link

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