Common sunflower

Helianthus annuus

''Helianthus annuus'', the common sunflower, is a large annual forb of the genus ''Helianthus'' grown as a crop for its edible oil and edible fruits. This sunflower species is also used as wild bird food, as livestock forage , in some industrial applications, and as an ornamental in domestic gardens. The plant was first domesticated in the Americas. Wild ''Helianthus annuus'' is a widely branched annual plant with many flower heads. The domestic sunflower, however, often possesses only a single large inflorescence atop an unbranched stem. The name ''sunflower'' may derive from the flower's head's shape, which resembles the sun, or from the impression that the blooming plant appears to slowly turn its flower towards the sun as the latter moves across the sky on a daily basis.

Sunflower seeds were brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century, where, along with sunflower oil, they became a widespread cooking ingredient.