Sunflower Family (Asteraceae : Helianthus)
Latin Name: Helianthus annuus
Value: Wildlife – good (seed)
Livestock – fair
The state flower of Kansas. Flowers July to September. When actively growing, the flowers and leaves tend to follow the sun as it traverses the sky. Adapted to clay or heavy sands in fields, abandoned areas, pastures, and along fence rows and ditches. This is a most useful plant, formerly being of great us to the American Indian for medicines, as a source of fiber and cordage, and as a highly nutritious food. Nearly all parts of the plant can be utilized. The seeds can be eaten raw, cooked, roasted, or dried and ground for use in bread or cakes. Oil can be extracted and used for cooking and soap making. Yellow dyes have been made from the flowers and black dyes from the seeds. The seeds are readily sought by several species of wild birds. Some grazing to livestock during the early stages of growth.