Helianthus annuus is native to dry plains, prairies, meadows and foothills in the western U.S., Canada and northern Mexico. It is a coarse, hairy, leafy, fast-growing annual that typically grows 5-10’ tall on stiff upright stalks. The species is a somewhat weedy plant that is now commonly seen growing along roads, fences, fields and in waste areas west of the Mississippi River and is the state flower of Kansas. It is native to Missouri. Species plants feature 3-6” wide sunflowers with orange-yellow rays and brown to purple center disks. Flowers bloom in summer. Genus name comes from the Greek words helios meaning sun and anthos meaning flower. Specific epithet means annual.