by Stephen Mifsud
   24 Jun 2024      ()
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Helianthus annuus   (Sunflower)

Helianthus annuus  (ASTERACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Helianthus annuus - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 24-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Helianthus annuusL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 904 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Helianthus lenticularis Douglas ex Lindl.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Asteraceae Bercht. & J.Presl (=Compositae) (The Daisy or Sunflower Family)
123 species from the Asteraceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Sunflower, Common Sunflower

Maltese name(s) :

Warda tax-xemx

Status for Malta :

Casual or accidental alien. Species that was introduced in Malta rather recently and normally it is short-lived or resticted to small populations for a short time, without becoming widespread or invasive.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

July – October

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Helianthus: Helios- meaning sun and -anthos meaning flower, probably given for the large, yellow flowers that sunflower species have. (Greek origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Cultivated places and locally naturalized elsewhere from agriculture or gardens.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Fields, farmhouses, field margins, sometimes escaping in valley beds
Botanical Description: Coarse, scabrid-hairy, usually unbranched annual up to 3 m. Leaves 10-40 x 5-35 cm, broadly ovate, the lower cordate at base, usually toothed, 3-veined, petiolate. Capitula up to 30 cm in diameter, usually solitary, more or less nodding. Involucral bracts ovate-oblong, acuminate, ciliate. Receptacle flat or nearly so. Ligules at least 25 mm. Inner florets brownish. Achenes 5-15 mm, hairy.
Distributional range: Widely cultivated in E.C. & S.E. Europe for the oil obtained from the achenes.
Native region outside Europe: (North America.)

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Introduced in Albania, Austria and Liechtenstein, Bulgaria, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, Greece, Switzerland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, ex-Jugoslavia, Romania, Russia and former USSR, Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
[cAb(A) aAE(G) aAl Au(A) aAu(L) Az(F L) aBe(B) cBH cBl(M) aBr Bu By aCa(F T) Cg aCo aCr aCs Ct Es aGa(F) aGe aGr Hb(E N) He Ho Hs cHs(S) Hu aIJ aIr aIs It cJo La cLi Lt nLu nMa aMd(M) Mk Mo cNo cPo Rf(C E N NW S) cRf(CS) Rm nSa aSi(S) aSk Sl aSr Su cTcs Tu(A E) cUk Uk(K U)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (8 images)
   Helianthus annuus   -   Image Code: HELAN-0.
   Helianthus annuus   -   Image Code: HELAN-1.
   Helianthus annuus   -   Image Code: HELAN-2.
   Helianthus annuus   -   Image Code: HELAN-3.
   Helianthus annuus   -   Image Code: HELAN-4.
   Helianthus annuus   -   Image Code: HELAN-5.
   Helianthus annuus   -   Image Code: HELAN-6.
   Helianthus annuus   -   Image Code: HELAN-7.

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