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Sunflower

Helianthus annuus

Details & Attributes


Plant Type(s) Annual
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low-moderate
Sun Full sun, partial shade
Pollinators Bees, butterflies
Has Spines No
Size
In relative feet, width by height
3-6' × 3-6'
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season March-October
Flower Color Yellow with a dark center
Minimum Temperature Range 20-30 °F (may be able to take lower temps, but will most likely freeze back)
Leaf Description Typically ovate and borne on long petioles, leaves may be alternate or opposite
Fruit Good sized achenes (dry single seeded fruit), these are small versions of the sunflower seeds which are such a common summertime snack.
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Elevation Range 1000-7000 ft.
Ethnobotany Seed was dried, ground and mixed with water to make a coffee-like drink. It is also ground to make sunflower seed cakes or crushed and boiled to make oil. The oil was used to relieve coughs. The pith of a sunflower stalk has also been burned and used as a wart remover. Stalks used as fuel, livestock fodder, poultry food, and silage. Stems used as source of commercial fiber. Fiber may be used in paper.
Description A widespread and variable sunflower which occurs as a native or introduced species in every state of the contiguous U.S., and which has been introduced to much of the planet in the form of the sunflowers seen bordering garden beds. Seed planted from native Arizona seed stock will be a far cry from the monster "mammoth" sunflowers purchased at garden centers. Native Arizona plants are typically heavily branched and feature small blooms with the characteristic sunflower look. This is a great plant to include in gardens for its pollinator value and edible seeds which are relished by birds, and which have been an important food source to North Americans for thousands of years.