Helianthus giganteus (L)
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
Giant Sunflower is exceptionally tall with rough reddish stems and bearing numerous light-yellow flower heads. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region, except directly at seashore. Its preferred habitat is swamps, wet thickets and meadows.
The leaves are large, alternate on the stem, rough to the touch, lance-like, long pointed and finely toothed. New growth leaves are nearly sessile (without a leaf stalk). Old growth leaves have long leaf stalks.
The flowers are heads at the tip of the flowering stems; usually about 3" broad and light yellow. Look for 10 to 20 ray flowers and numerous yellow disc flowers. Bracts supporting the heads are narrow, thin and green. Ray flowers are female and disc flowers are bisexual in nature; symmetrical in form.
Fruit is achene (a seed which outer layer is fused to it).
Considering its name, the flowers of this plant are comparatively small; the "Giant" in its common name actually refers to the plant's overall height, that may be 12 to 15 feet.