Genus Helianthus
Aster Family (Asteraceae/Compositae)

Sunflower Plant

Common Sunflower
(Helianthus annuus)

This is the state flower of Kansas. It is a very common plant along roadsides and fence lines all across the country, especially in the western states. It often grows to 6 or 8 feet tall, and blooms in late summer and early fall.
The name comes from two Greek words: helios (the sun), and anthos (a flower).

Sunflower head
(Helianthus annuus)

The flowering heads are about 4 inches or more in diameter, with bright yellow ray flowers and dark brown disk flowers.
The plant has been cultivated since pre-Columbian times, for its edible seeds. The seeds are also an important food source for birds. It is native to North America, but has now been introduced in Europe and Asia also.

Sunflower Head

Butterfield Canyon
Oquirrh Mountains
Salt Lake County, Utah


by Sandra Bray