Unwatch'd, the garden bough shall sway,
The tender blossom flutter down;
Unloved, that beech will gather brown,
This maple burn itself away;
Unloved, the sunflower, shining fair,
Ray round with flames her disk of seed,
And many a rose-carnation feed
With summer spice the humming air
From "In Memoriam" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Seen in Missouri along roadsides and edges of fields, Common Sunflower is tall, often up to nine feet, and bears numerous large flowers on many branches. Native to the Great Plains, this plant was valued by Native Americans as a source of food, oil, and medicine. Both the flower heads and seeds are smaller than today's commercially cultivated varieties.
Although large and coarse, this plant can be an attractive garden specimen, and can be used as cut flowers in large arrangements. Left on the plant, the seeds will attract birds in the fall.
To 9 feet
4 - 10 inches
3 - 12 inches
Coarsely toothed (dentate)