A very tall sunflower

I’ve been studying and studying the list of sunflowers on MinnesotaWildflowers.info, trying to identify a very tall sunflower that grew in our yard this year.

Looking up at many medium-sized yellow sunflowers against a blue sky

I don’t remember buying it, and there is no tag, which suggests I didn’t. It it could be a volunteer plant, like so many others in our garden, though there are at least six stems, so that seems unlikely. Last fall I collected seeds while on a hike, and this plant may have been from a packet that I labeled “giant sunflower.”

green shoots and a sunflower bud

It has leaves like Maximilian sunflower

Looking down at several open sunflower blossoms close to the ground

…but petals more like Jerusalem artichoke.

One medium-sized sunflower blossom, fully open

I’ve been calling it “giant sunflower” all summer – but that is the common name of an actual plant, and this one does not have the characteristic hairy stem or toothed leaves.

Many sunflower blossoms in sunshine, from several angles

This is as close as I got to taking a photo of the flower’s bract:

Closeup of two open blossoms against a blue sky

I’m not exactly tall, but even still, this plant towers over me:

A woman standing next to a very tall sunflower

Well, whatever its name, I enjoyed watching it grow and bloom. And so did the bees and bugs.

three open sunflowers, one with an orange beetle and one with a bee

Now, it’s time to collect seeds (this time, to make sure it doesn’t take over the entire garden).

a stalk of many seed heads, and a hand with seeds and half a seed head

I’m going with Maximilian sunflower, with petals that grew thinner than normal, until I learn otherwise.

a bumblebee in a sunflower

1 Comment

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  1. Probably not Helianthus tuberosus, but if it is H. tuberosus, it will have tubers as roots. Edible. The leaves are more sunflowery (fatter) than what you have.


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