The scientific name for the common sunflower is Helianthus annuus. The common sunflower is a member of the Asteraceae plant family and was domesticated by the Native Americans for food production.
The seeds of the sunflower are often used for oil production as well as food, and the sunflower is an alternative crop in the Great Plains areas of the United States. The sunflower has two differing types of flowers: ray and disk. The ray flowers surround the edges of the plant, whereas the disk flowers are contained within the flower's center. The common sunflower was declared the Kansas state flower in 1903 due to its abundance in the area.