E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Helianthus annuus L.
common sunflower
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #10663)

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Distribution of Helianthus annuus
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Species Information

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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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

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

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References