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Wild Sunflower Helianthus annuus

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
hee-lee-AN-thus AN-yoo-us
Description

Common Sunflower is and annual in the Asteraceae (daisy) family.  It ommonly 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.

This plant is grown commercially as food for birds, livestock and humans. Steamed buds have an artichoke flavor. 

 

More information on Helianthus.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Full Sun Single'
  • 'Suncredible Yellow'
    1st Place in the 2019 NC State Annual Color Trials (in ground plantings)
'Full Sun Single', 'Suncredible Yellow'
Tags:
#gold#full sun tolerant#annuals#drought tolerant#edible plant#red-brown#wildlife plant#edible flowers#nectar plant#specialized bees#summer flowers#Monarch butterfly#edible seeds#fantz#larval host plant#allelopathic#edible buds#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#bee friendly#silvery checkerspot butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Full Sun Single'
  • 'Suncredible Yellow'
    1st Place in the 2019 NC State Annual Color Trials (in ground plantings)
'Full Sun Single', 'Suncredible Yellow'
Tags:
#gold#full sun tolerant#annuals#drought tolerant#edible plant#red-brown#wildlife plant#edible flowers#nectar plant#specialized bees#summer flowers#Monarch butterfly#edible seeds#fantz#larval host plant#allelopathic#edible buds#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#bee friendly#silvery checkerspot butterfly
  • 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:
    AK , AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , HI , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a great late-nectar plant for butterflies including monarch's and other pollinators. This is a larval host plant that supports Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis). The Silvery Checkerspot has at least 1-2 broods in the north from June-July in the deep south and Texas, they have as many as 3-4 broods from May through September. 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, livestock feed, and as a snack food or garnish. Petals are edible and young flower buds can be steamed like artichokes.
    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
    Edible
    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 Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Seeds are ovoid and somewhat flattened
  • 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
    Flower Description:
    Ray flowers surround the center disc flowers and can be up to 5 inches across. Rays are yellow and disc flowers are brown to yellow to orange. Blooms mid to late summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The hairy leaves are alternate but may be opposite lower on the stalk. Margins are cordate and the shape is lanceolate. They can be up to 12 inches long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Erect rough-hairy stem
  • 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
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy