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About this blog

       Oklahoma Wildflowers serves as an introduction to The Wonderful World of Oklahoma Wildflowers with a linked list to the site which which has general plant information and images useful for identification and educational purposes.
        Since space is limited here I will add photos and information about plants blooming during the current month. For more detailed information and images go to the linked address. Unless noted, all photos were taken in Oklahoma
        For detailed information on using the Wonderful World of Oklahoma Wildflowers scroll to the end of this page or click on a flower common name on the list.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

       The tall, majestic sunflower, a member of the Aster (Asteracea) family, is found throughout North America. Commonly seen along roadsides, fields and other open areas it is the state flower of Kansas.
       Blooming from late summer into fall the native Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) grows to six feet tall and produces yellow flowers two to five inches in diameter. The ovate leaves grow to a foot long. The stems, leaves and all parts of the Common Sunflower (except flowers) are roughly hairy.
        Prehistorically the Sunflower, cultivated by Native Americans for food and medicine is still grown and varieties of sunflowers, such as the Russian Giant, are cultivated for their oil rich and nutritious seeds. Sunflower oil, used for deep frying etc., may be purchased in many super markets and grocery stores. .
        The seeds produced by the Common Sunflower are an important source of food for wild birds and other wildlife.
        The flowers of the sunflower, facing the sun, seemingly “track” the sun. However, it is not the flower which turns, but the stem. The stem growing faster on the shaded side turns the flower in the direction of the sun.

       Photos taken at Sutton Wilderness in Norman, Oklahoma and Little River State Park near Norman, Oklahoma.

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