Photos of Sunflowers and Sunflower Seeds, Helianthus annuus.

Sunflowers, Helianthus annuus, are well-known as a source of beauty, edible seeds and seed oil. The wild parent, with smaller flowerheads is found in prairies and along roadsides in the Midwestern United States. Traditionally, native groups used the flower tea for lung ailments and malaria. The leaf tea was used for high fevers. Externally the astringent leaves were used as a poultice on snakebites and spider bites. The seeds and leaves are considered slightly diuretic and have an experimental expectorant effect. Grown by indigenous groups of the Americas for thousands of years, it has been known to Europeans since 1615. The only North American native plant to become a major crop.

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