Common sunflower

Helianthus annua

Height: Up to 3 m (10 feet). Stem unbranched, rough–soft-haired.
Flower: Flowers 5–40 cm (2–15 in.) wide, single flower-like capitula surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitulum’s ray-florets yellow, tongue-like, neuter; disk florets brownish, tubular, small. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts in 2 rows, leafy, ovate, tapered. Capitula usually solitary, soon nodding.
Leaves: Lower opposite, upper alternate, stalked. Blade usually broadly ovate, 10–40 cm (4–15 in.) long, at least lower down cordate based, large-toothed.
Fruit: Long, flat-oval, slightly angular, smoothly haired–virtually glabrous achene, usually tipped with 2 withering bristles.
Habitat: Harbours, railway yards, bird-feeding places, waste ground, rubbish tips, sometimes seashores. Also an ornamental and useful plant.
Flowering time: August–September.

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