Botanical Description

Helianthus annuus L. is a member of the Compositeae family, and has many common names, including Suraj mukhi (Hindi, Gujerati, and Bengali), Suria-mukhi Arkakantha (Sansrit); Surya-phul (Mah), and Sunflower (English).

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It is an annual herb with an erect, rough, hairy stem, 1—2 m high, and branched at the top. The leaves are mainly alternate, with broadly ovate blades 7—30 cm long, usually slightly acuminate at the apex. The flower heads are usually 8—15 cm in diameter, but can attain 30—60 cm under cultivation (Figure 130.1). The flowers are single or double, situated terminally on the main axis and branches; receptacles are flat, more frequently dilated and convex, and the ray florets are yellow, surrounding a brownish purple center of disc florets (Figure 130.2). The Seeds are cylindrical, obovoid-compressed, 1 cm inch long and 0.6 cm broad, white, black, or striped gray and black, with the pappus falling early. The sunflower is self-sterile, and fertilization is normally effected by insects (The Wealth of India, 2001; Chopra et al., 2006; Kirtikar and Basu 2006). One bioactive annuionone is present in HA leaves (Figure 130.4).

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