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Helianthus annus

Common Sunflower

Family Asteraceae

Nuts, oil, flour, coffee. Seeds can be eaten raw or roasted. A vegetable oil
can be skimmed from the top after boiling the crushed kernels. The meal from
well-ground dried seeds can be used to replace part of the flour for baking, or to
thicken soups. The roasted shells can be ground and percolated to make coffee.


Growth Form: Herbaceous plant, single tall and erect stalk.

Leaves: Alternate, dark-green, large, and heart-shaped, with rough texture and serrated edges. Long petiole.

Flowers: Can be up to 15cm (6in) in diameter with dark brownish central disk, and several elliptical yellow rays. There may be some variation. Flowers June through October.

Stems: Coarsely hairy.

Leaf (Hannah Ramer. Waltham, MA)

Flower (Hannah Ramer. Waltham, MA)

Flower (Hannah Ramer. Waltham, MA)

Habitat and Range

Disturbed areas, waste places, fields, and prairies from Minnesota to Texas and west, and local areas to the east.


Seeds should be harvested during the late summer and early fall.

Fun Facts

The common sunflower can grow to be 3.6m (12ft) tall.


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