The common sunflower Helianthus annuus originated in North America and evidence shows that it was cultivated as early as 3000 BCE by Native Americans in the south west and the plant was eventually distributed throughout the continent and grown alongside corn, beans and squash. It was used for food, oil, medicine, fibers, dye and more. The original wild plant was small seeded and multi branching. Through the selection process the first breeders created a larger seeded and flowering, single stalk plant.

Scientifically sunflower is known as Helianthus annuus derived from the Greek Helios-sun and anthos-flower and annuus means annual. Interestingly the Spanish word for sunflower, girasol, describes its property of always turning toward the sun. Sunflowers are in the Asteraceae/Daisy family which is characterized mainly by its flowers. Like other members of this family the sunflower head is actually compromised of many small disc and ray florets that together appear to be a single flower. Other common flowers in this family include Echinacea, Shasta Daisy and Dandelion.

Around 1500 CE the Spanish brought seeds back to Europe where it quickly became popular ornamentally and for food. By the 1700s it was cultivated by the British as an oil crop and in the early 1800s it became an important food and oil crop in Russia where millions of acres were under cultivation in the 19th century. The Europeans and Russians continued to breed the sunflower and create varieties specifically for food and oil production. By the later 1800s these varieties, such as Russian Mammoth, returned to North America with Russian and Mennonite immigrants. Another variety, Tarahumara Sunflower, is believed to have been transplanted from Canada by Mennonite immigrants to the Tarahumara region in Mexico.

Plant: After last frost

Helianthus annus

50 seeds/pack | 75 days

Spectacular garden variety for cut flowers. Large blooms adorn plants 6-8 feet tall with multiple flowers that continue to bloom throughout the season. Produces flowers come in shades of burgundy, orange and yellow with dark centers.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Helianthus annus

50 seeds/pack | 80 days | Heirloom

Our largest variety of sunflower grows to 12 feet and each head can be up to 2 feet across. Great variety to grow for a plentiful seed harvest, if you can get there before the birds! Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of protein. Easy to grow and they attract butterflies. A very heat- and drought-resistant variety.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Helianthus annus

50 seeds/pack | 75 days | Heirloom

Gold petals with green/black concentric circles in center. Very striking sunflower with an interesting center pattern of concentric rings of green and black. Mid-size heads to 8 feet. White seeds.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Helianthus annus

50 seeds/pack | 80 days | Heirloom

At 3-5 ft. tall these large single headed sunflowers stand the height of a child on sturdy stalks. Selected by Montana Survival Seeds from the dwarf variety Sunspot . These make a great addition to a child's garden and attract pollinators.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Helianthus annuus

50 seeds/pack | 65-75 days 

Gorgeous maroon to chocolate brown flowers on tall multi-branching plants. Great for cut flowers and provides continuous blooms throughout the season. Pollinators love this variety.

$3.00