Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Common Sunflower - Helianthus annuus   L.
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Helianthus with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
Show/Hide Synonym
DistributionScattered across the state, with gaps that are without real meaning.

Native of the Midwestern U.S. and Canada; extensively cultivated and escaped elsewhere.
AbundanceRare to uncommon throughout.
HabitatRoadsides, railroad margins, fields, woods edges, pastures, campus weed.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-October.
IdentificationThis is a quite robust herb, often reaching 6 feet tall and rarely to 9 feet tall. It is most readily recognized by the large, dark brown disc (to about 1.5-2 inches across), much broader than in our other sunflowers -- though not like the cultivated forms with disks many inches across. The leaves are triangular, with a truncate base, pointed tip, and small teeth on the margins. It can easily be confused with H. debilis, due to the broad disk and the triangular leaves. However, the involucral bracts of H. debilis are lanceolate and 1-3 mm wide, vs. rather ovate and 4-8 mm wide in H. annuus.
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)
State RankSE
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFAC link
USACE-empFAC link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Select a source
Select an occurrence type