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Common sunflower

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**Botanical and Genetic Characteristics**:
Genus name derived from Greek words for ‘sun’ and ‘flower
– Species name means ‘annual’ in Latin
– Diploid genome with 17 base chromosomes
– Estimated genome size of 2,871–3,189 million base pairs
– Genome size slightly larger than the human genome
Common sunflower native to Western United States and Mexico
– Distribution excludes tropical, desert, or tundra regions
– Sunflowers exhibit heliotropism during early growth stages

**Cultivation and Production**:
– First domesticated in the Americas
– Sunflower seeds introduced to Europe in the 16th century
– Russia and Ukraine produce over half of global seed production
– Sunflower oil widely used in cooking
– Commercial planting involves seeds planted 45cm apart and 2.5cm deep
– World production of sunflower seeds was 50 million tonnes in 2020
– Top sunflower seed-producing countries include Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, China, and Romania
– Proper fertilizer use and crop rotation practices are essential for maximizing yields

**Historical and Cultural Significance**:
– Cultivated by Native Americans in prehistoric North America
– Sunflowers were domesticated in Mexico around 2600BCE
– Sunflower oil became popular in Russia in the 18th century
– Sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine and the state flower of Kansas
– Sunflowers used symbolically in various cultures and movements
– Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers series is famous

**Utilization and Applications**:
– Sunflower seeds are sold as snack food and processed into butter
– Sunflower oil is used for cooking, margarine, and biodiesel
– Sunflower meal and hulls utilized in animal feed
– Sunflowers used for phytoremediation and cleaning up radioactive soil
– Symbol of hope, solidarity, and remembrance in different contexts

**Research and Agriculture**:
– Various scientific studies and publications on sunflowers
– Sunflower genome project holds promise for sustainable agriculture
– Researchers analyzing impact of fertilizers on sunflower growth
– Sunflower breeding research for resistance and hybrid development
– Insights into sunflower production systems, crop physiology, and cultivation practices

Common sunflower (Wikipedia)

The common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is a species of large annual forb of the daisy family Asteraceae. The common sunflower is harvested for its edible oily seeds which are used in the production of cooking oil.

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus cv. Sunfola

Secure  (NatureServe)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Helianthus
H. annuus
Binomial name
Helianthus annuus
  • Helianthus aridus Rydb.
  • Helianthus erythrocarpus Bartl.
  • Helianthus indicus L.
  • Helianthus jaegeri Heiser
  • Helianthus lenticularis Douglas
  • Helianthus macrocarpus DC. & A.DC.
  • Helianthus multiflorus Hook.
  • Helianthus ovatus Lehm.
  • Helianthus platycephalus Cass.
  • Helianthus tubaeformis Nutt.

The Helianthus annuus has a variety of purposes e.g. food for livestock, bird food, and planted in domestic gardens for aesthetics. The Helianthus annuus is known for its multiple flower heads, whereas the domestic sunflower often possesses a single large flower head atop an unbranched stem.

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