Common sunflower, Annual sunflower

Helianthus annuus L.

Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)


This tall, showy plant grows from 2 to 8 feet tall. Its stem has short, prickly hairs and may sometimes be purple or dark colored. The leaves are covered in coarse, rough hairs and are located alternately along the stem. The leaf blades can grow to 10 inches long.

The flower heads are terminal (growing at the end of a branch or stem) and large -up to 4 inches across. The ray flowers are yellow and the disk flowers brown. The plant blooms from May through October.

The forage value of common sunflower for livestock is poor, but it provides excellent feed for birds.


This plant grows in many soil types and moisture conditions. It is prominent on disturbed and low-lying areas but can also persist on dry soils.