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Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) Sunflower is the common name for a family of annual and perennial herbs. The Sunflower has about 67 species and is thought to be native to South America. Sunflowers are now distributed almost worldwide. The Sunflower gets its name from the fact that the darker side of the flower grows faster than the sunny side so the stem bends toward the sun.

The large blossom is composed of yellow petals and a yellow, brown, or purple center depending on the species. Some of the tall-growing forms may reach a height of 12 ft. The plants are cultivated for their seeds and oil. Refined sunflower-seed oil is edible and considered by many equal in quality to olive oil. Cruder sunflower oil is used for making soap and candles and the very last part called oil cakes are used as cattle feed. The raw seeds are used in poultry feed and are eaten by humans as well.

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