Sunflower is the common name for the 70 or so species of the genus Helianthus, noted for their height and their large, showy flowers. The garden sunflower is usually a variety of H. annuus.
Sunflowers are native to the Americas. Their seeds were a food and an important source of oil for pre-Columbian peoples. The flowers could also be used to make a yellow dye.
In modern times, the sunflower is a commercial crop as well as a garden plant. It is still cultivated for its oil, used in soaps and paints as well as for cooking. It is also grown for its seeds, to feed both humans and livestock and to provide major constituent for birdseed.