Origin: The Americas (mostly North & Central America)

Family: Asteraceae
Supertribe: Helianthodae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus

Folk Names: Corona Solis, Marigold of Peru, Sola Indianus


Element: Fire
Day: Sunday
Planet: The Sun
Zodiac: Leo
Associated Celebrations: SumSol
Deities: Apollo, Demeter, Helios

Parts Used: Flowers, seeds

Magical Properties: Fertility, prosperity, happiness, wisdom, protection


Part Used: Seeds
Extraction Method: Cold-pressed
Flash Point: >300°C

Perfume Use: Base oil
Shelf Life: 12 months
Scent Description: Faintly nutty

Active Constituents: High in vitamin E

Topical Use

Skin Types: Dry/combination
Absorption Rate: Medium/fast
Viscosity: Light

Properties: Emollient, anti-inflammatory; excellent all-purpose oil for skin soothing and healing.


There are about 70 different species of sunflower. Most of these are annuals, but a few are perennial.

Type: Tall flower
Plant size: Up to 2m
Stem: Rough, hairy stem
Leaves: Large leaves in a rosette at the base, with some smaller leaves up the stem
Flowers: Large flower heads with bright yellow ray florets on the outside, and yellow or maroon disc florets in the centre, some grow 30cm or larger in diameter

Etymology: Called “sunflowers” due to their large sunny-yellow flowers, which move to face the sun. The genus name Helianthus comes from the Greek sun god Helios.

In the Garden

Type: Annual
Sow: Spring
Light: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained

Companion Planting: Apricot, cucumber, pumpkin, squash, and sweetcorn. Sunflowers can also be grown to provide shade for sun-stressed plants, and tall varieties can be used as trellises for climbing peas/beans.