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Larger sunflowers image
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Helianthus[?]
Species: annuus
Binomial name
Helianthus annuus

The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is a flower with a typically large head which turns to face the sun. (Some recently developed varieties have drooping[?] heads. These varieties are less attractive to gardeners growing the flowers as ornamentals, but appeal to farmers, because they may reduce bird damage and losses from some plant diseases.)

The heads, which are actually compound flowers, usually grow on a stalk[?] which can be several feet tall with few leaves. The petals can be yellow, maroon, orange, or other colors.

Sunflowers are native to the Americas, and were domesticated around 1000 B.C.[?].They were taken to Europe by the Spaniards early in the 16th century.

Sunflower oil[?] is used for cooking, but less cardiohealthy than olive oil, and to product biodiesel, for which it is less expensive) than the olive product. The meal remaining after the seeds have been processed for oil is sometimes used as a livestock feed.

The whole seeds are commonly sold as snacks (i.e. in the cinema), especially in the United States and Europe, and as food for birds.

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