sun·flow·er [ sún flòwr ] (plural sun·flow·ers)
1. tall plant with yellow-rayed flowers: a tall annual plant with large yellow-rayed flowers and edible seeds that yield an oil. It is grown for ornament and as a farm crop for sunflower oil. Latin name Helianthus annus.
2. plant related to commercially grown sunflower: any of several plants related to the seed- and oil-giving sunflower. Genus Helianthus.
[Mid-16th century. Translation of modern Latin flos solis and Greek helianthos. So called from its yellow-rayed flowers and because it turns to follow the sun throughout the day.]
The sunflower's ability to follow the sun, along with its sturdy stem which can turn even under the weight of a heavy flowerhead, have inspired scientists in their mission against aging.