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© 2019 Farm Journal Foundation

SUNFLOWER 

Sunflowers are truly American! Of all the crops harvested for seed around the world, sunflowers are the only one that was originally domesticated in the United States. Sunflowers are widely grown across the United States and they are the state flower of Kansas. Other key growing states include South Dakota and North Dakota.

Sunflowers can reach 3 to 18 feet in height. They are one of the fastest growing plants, able to reach 8 to 12 feet in just 6 months. The world’s tallest Sunflower on record grew to 30 feet and 1 inch!

Sunflowers are a powerful crop for conservation too. They are able to absorb heavy metals and toxins from the ground and are often used as a tool to restore heavily polluted areas. For example, Sunflowers were planted in Japan to help decontaminate the soil following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.