Non-cultivated form of common sunflower from Diane P., SC

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Hello again, Dr. Hill,
This flower was growing along I-20 in Georgia, just across the line with South Carolina and about 100 feet off-road. I photographed it on August 28. The plant was growing on the freeway side of the back fence of what appears to be a light industrial park (not residential) in full sun.
Thank you.

Hi Diane,

you probably won’t believe me, but I would call this the wild or escaped form of the common sunflower, Helianthus annuus.  One of the most important features is the brown disc color, the triangular leaves, and the ciliate bracts which are abruptly narrowed at the tips. See the pictures at this site:

I must assume this was an annual;  the place where you photographed it would be typical for this species, which likes disturbed areas. As you know, the cultivated forms have fewer heads which are much larger.


Steve Hill, Ph.D., Botanist. SCNPS


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