Helianthus annuus L.
common sunflower
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Virginia Skilton     (Photo ID #10663)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Helianthus annuus
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Species Information

Annual herb from a fibrous root; stems erect, simple or branched above, rough stiff-hairy, 0.4-2 m tall.
Basal leaves lacking; lower leaves opposite, often heart-shaped; middle and upper leaves alternate, stalked, toothed, egg-shaped or wider, rough stiff-hairy.
Heads with ray and disk flowers, terminal; involucres 10-12 mm tall; involucral bracts graduated, egg-shaped to more oblong, with long-pointed tips, stiff-hairy with fringed margins; ray flowers yellow, up to 3 cm long; disk flowers numerous, reddish-purple, rarely yellow; receptacles flat, over 2 cm wide;
Achene compressed, glabrous or obscurely hairy, over 4 mm long; pappus of 2 firm, readily deciduous bristles with enlarged, thin, papery bases.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Blue
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat and Range

Moist to dry waste places and disturbed areas in the steppe zone; rare in SC BC; probably introduced from the W U.S.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Helianthus annuus subsp. jaegeri (Heiser) Heiser
Helianthus annuus subsp. lenticularis (Douglas ex Lindl.) Cockerell
Helianthus annuus subsp. texanus Heiser
Helianthus annuus var. lenticularis (Douglas ex Lindl.) Steyerm.
Helianthus annuus var. macrocarpus (DC.) Cockerell
Helianthus annuus var. texanus (Heiser) Shinners
Helianthus aridus Rydb.
Helianthus lenticularis Douglas ex Lindl.