Common Sunflower

Helianthus annuus

Family Compositae (Asteraceae)


Notable Features
Leaves: Alternate* leaves heart-shaped and toothed*, with pointed tips and thin stalks. Both the leaves and the thick central stem are covered in rough, stubby and firm hairs.
Flowers: A single, composite flower resides at the very top of the plant and the central stem. A brownish, circular disk full of disk flowers* (later, seeds) is surrounded by bright yellow ray flowers* appears June through October.

Size/ Shape: A large, erect, annual* plant with a single composite flower head reaching heights of 12 feet (4 meters).

Location on Campus

(click for map)

A Sunflower was recently planted this year in front of the modular office units next to Chapel's Field.

Uses
The seeds in the central disk can be eaten off the plant directly as nuts, and their shells can be roasted to make a coffee substitute.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.