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Helianthus annuus

Phonetic Spelling
hee-lee-AN-thus AN-yoo-us
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Helianthus annuus is commonly seen growing along roads, fences, fields and in waste areas west of the Mississippi River and is the state flower of Kansas. Hybridization has produced many cultivars, expanding the range of flowers from the common yellow to red, mahogany, bronze, white and bi-colors.

Steamed buds have an artichoke flavor. Petals of open flowers have a bitter-sweet flower.

This plant has been classified as invasive and should not be grown in areas where it could escape cultivation.

Family name Asteraceae (Compositae)

More information on Helianthus.

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Full Sun Single'
  • 'Suncredible Yellow'
    1st Place in the 2019 NC State Annual Color Trials (in ground plantings)
Tags:
#bees#gold#sun#yellow#annual#drought tolerant#red-brown#wildlife plant#nectar plant#specialized bees#summer flowers#fantz#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Full Sun Single'
  • 'Suncredible Yellow'
    1st Place in the 2019 NC State Annual Color Trials (in ground plantings)
Tags:
#bees#gold#sun#yellow#annual#drought tolerant#red-brown#wildlife plant#nectar plant#specialized bees#summer flowers#fantz#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Helianthus
    Species:
    annuus
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Indians ground the seeds into flour and baked into cakes. They applied a poultice of crushed plants to snakebites and also used an infusion of the flowers for chest pains or pulmonary problems.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Western United States
    Distribution:
    The sunflower was originally cultivated by Native Americans to produce a larger seed than the original wild plant. It was introduced into Europe in the sixteenth century and cultivated by the Russians on a large scale. Plants developed by the Russians were then reintroduced in the U. S. and are now grown around the world for food, oil, fuel, and fiber.
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a great late-nectar plant for butterflies. Birds are attracted to seeds so leave standing dead flowers into the winter as natural bird feeders.  Members of the genus Helianthus support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) accepta, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) aliciae, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) helianthi, Melissodes (Eumelissodes) agilis, Dieunomia (Dieunomia) heteropoda, Megachile (Sayapis) pugnata, and Paranthidium (Paranthidium) jugatorium.
    Edibility:
    Seeds are used for cooking oil and livestock feed.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herb
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are alternate but may be opposite lower on the stalk. Each cordate leaf is irregularly toothed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Invasive Species