Helianthus annuus, Common Sunflower
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
Common Name: Common Sunflower
Also Called: Annual Sunflower, Hopi Sunflower, Sunflower and Wild Sunflower (Spanish: Girasol, Mirasol, Flor de Sol)
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Helianthus annuus ssp. jaegeri, Helianthus annuus ssp. lenticularis, Helianthus annuus ssp. texanus, Helianthus annuus var. lenticularis, Helianthus annuus var. macrocarpus, Helianthus annuus var. texanus, Helianthus aridus, Helianthus lenticularis)
Size: Up to 9 feet.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, shrub; erect main stem; branching on upper growth; rough, hairy.
Leaves: Bright green; leaves cordate or heart shaped, large, ovate or lanceolate; margins serrate, long petiole, leaves opposite below, and mostly alternate above.
Flower Color: Yellow; showy, radiate; ligulate ray flowers bright yellow, 13 to many, disk flowers numerous, variable, reddish or yellow, anthers brown or black, flower heads few to many; seed is an achene.
Flowering Season: March to October.
Elevation: 100 to 7,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Multiple habitat types widely distributed across its range, riparian communities, roadsides and irrigated fields.
Recorded Range: Throughout most of North America and Mexico. Introduced nearly worldwide. Native throughout most of Arizona.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Helianthus annuus.
U.S. Weed Information: Helianthus annuus is listed in 46 states and in: Weeds of Nebraska and the Great Plains, Weeds of the United States and Canada, and Weeds of the West. Plants included here may become weedy or invasive.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Helianthus annuus is listed as a Noxious Weed by the federal government and the State of Iowa. Plants included here are invasive or noxious.
Wetland Indicator: Helianthus annuus is listed on the USDA 2012 National Wetland Plant List.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.
Comments: The Common Sunflower is perhaps one the most recognized flowers in the world. It is highly variable and readily hybridizes with several other native species and cultivars. In Arizona, Common Sunflower is similar to, and may be confused with the Prairie Sunflower, Helianthus petiolaris. However, Common Sunflower generally has much larger leaves.
Sunflower seeds are produced commercially and readily eaten by birds, small mammals and humans.
Several ethno-botanical including being made into a poultice and applied to snakebites while the oils from the seeds were used "to lubricate or paint the face or body". See full species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.