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aturalized Photo: Tabish
Common name: Sunflower • Hindi: Surajmukhi सूरजमुखी • Kannada: ಸೂರ್ಯಕಾಂತಿ Suryakaanti, ಸೂರ್ಯಮುಖಿ Suryamukhi, ಅರ್ಕಪುಷ್ಪ Arkapushpa, ಹೊತ್ತುತಿರುಗಹೂ Hottu tiruga hoo • Manipuri: ꯅꯨꯃꯤꯠꯂꯩ Numitlei • Malayalam: Sooryakanthi • Nepali: सूर्यमुखी फूल Sooryamukhi Phool • Tamil: சூரியகாந்தி suryakaanti • Mizo: Ni-hawi • Urdu: ﮔﹹﻞ ﺁﻓﺘﺎﺏ Gul aftab
Botanical name: Helianthus annuus    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

In Greek "helios" means sun and "anthos" means flower, thus Sunflower. The name is just apt for a plant that turns its flower to face directly into the sun as it passes and also looks like the sun in its yellow rays. Helianthus annuus is a highly variable species that is indigenous to North America. There are so many different-looking cultivars of sunflower that it's hard to make generalizations about the whole species. Most sunflowers are tall 8-15 ft (2.4-4.6 m); most have rough-hairy oval to heart shaped leaves; most have large flowerheads 8-12 in (20-30.5 cm) across; and most have yellow ray florets and purplish brown disk florets. The ray florets of sunflowers are sterile, and only the disk florets produce seeds. All the sunflower cultivars are fast-growing annuals, and many are rather rank coarse-textured plants. Sunflowers are easy to grow in any well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Add lime if your soil is acidic.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Manipur.

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