Helianthus annuus (Sunflower)

Scientific Name

Helianthus annuus L.

Common Names

Sunflower, Grand Soleil (French), Tournesol (French), Sonnenblume (German), Girasole (Italian), Himawari (Japanese), Haebaragi (Korean), Girassol (Portuguese), Girasol (Spanish), Alizeti (Swahili), Solros (Swedish)


Helianthus annuus subsp. annuus, Helianthus annuus var. annuus, Helianthus annuus f. annuus, Helianthus aridus, Helianthus aridus var. aridus, Helianthus erythrocarpus, Helianthus indicus, Helianthus jaegeri, Helianthus lenticularis, Helianthus macrocarpus, Helianthus macrocarpus, Helianthus multiflorus, Helianthus ovatus, Helianthus platycephalus, Helianthus tubaeformis

Scientific Classification

Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Genus: Helianthus


Color: Yellow and brown
Bloom Time:  August to September


Helianthus annuus is an annual herb with an erect, unbranched, rough-soft-hairy stem that grows up to 10 feet (3 m) tall. Leaves are broad, coarsely toothed, rough, mostly alternate, and up to 15 inches (40 cm) long. The flower is up to 15 inches (40 cm) in diameter and is actually a flower head of numerous small individual 5-petaled flowers (florets). The outer flowers which resemble petals are called ray flowers. The flowers in the center of the head are called disk flowers. The ray flowers are tongue-like and yellow, and the disk flowers are small, tubular, and brownish. The fruit is long, flat-oval, slightly angular, smoothly haired–virtually glabrous cypsela, usually tipped with two withering bristles.

Helianthus annuus (Sunflower)

How to Grow and Care

If you decide to add Sunflowers to your garden, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.

First of all, they are called sunflowers for a reason. They need sun. Make sure that the location you choose for your Sunflowers gets full sun.

Second, you do not need to worry about soil too much. They are not picky about the conditions of the soil, but they are plants. They will do better in better soil.

Third, Sunflower seed shells do contain a substance that is toxic to grass. So, you will need to harvest the Sunflower heads before the seeds begin to fall out, or you will need to plant your Sunflowers in a location where you do not mind any nearby grass being killed.

Fourth, keep in mind the height of the Sunflower variety you have chosen. A giant, twelve-foot variety will end up acting very much like a small tree and may shade the surrounding flowers. See more at How to Grow and Care for Sunflowers.


Native to the south-west of the United States, around the New Mexico area.


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