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16245 S US Hwy 71
Belton, MO 64012
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Helianthus annuus

Common Sunflower

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Helianthus annuus (Common Sunflower)

Native to dry plains, prairies, meadows and foothills in the western U. S., Canada and northern Mexico, this sunflower is a coarse, hairy, leafy, fast-growing annual that grows on stiff upright stalks. The species is a somewhat weedy plant that is now commonly seen growing along roads, in fields and in waste areas west of the Mississippi River. This is the state flower of Kansas. In mid to late summer, plants feature showy three to six inch wide flowers with orange-yellow rays and brown to purple center disks. Leaves are rough, large, and ovate to triangular, sometimes to 12" long.

Additional Information:
The Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is one of the few crop species that originated in North America (most originated in the fertile crescent, Asia or South or Central America). It was probably a "camp follower" of several of the western native American tribes who domesticated the crop (possibly 1000 BC ) and then carried it eastward and southward of North America. The first Europeans observed sunflower cultivated in many places from southern Canada to Mexico.

Sunflowers have become very popular commercial cut flowers throughout the world. Cultivated varieties are also commercially grown for their edible seeds which are used inter alia in livestock feed, as birdseed and for cooking oils. Flower heads tend to follow the path of the sun each day from morning to night, hence the common name.

3-10 Feet


18-36 Inches


Bloom/Seasonal Color
Deep Yellow

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-10

Home Owner Growing and Maintenance Tips:

Good Companions
Rough-leaf Goldenrod (Solidago patula), Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)

Characteristics & Attributes

Critter Resistance

Deer Resistant

Hydrologic Designation


Nature Attracting




Season of Interest

Late (July-frost)

Soil Moisture


Special Uses

Fresh Cut Flower

Sun Exposure

Full Sun

USFS MO Ecological Map

Wildlife Benefit

Food/Small Animals