Types of Sunflowers

September 15, 2016

Guess how many different types of sunflowers there are! Two, four, maybe seven....What's your guess?!


There are actually about 70 species of sunflowers in the world today!  The technical term for the sunflower is "helianthus." Helios means "sun" and anthos means "flower." All of the Helianthus species have big heads with long petals that resemble the sun, and that's how they got their beautiful name: the sunflower!


Look at some of these beautiful varieties! Below you will find the Maximilian Sunflower, the Teddy Bear Sunflower, the Earthwalker Sunflower, and the Pacino Sunflower.


Although all of the species of this plant are absolutely beautiful, not all of them produce sunflower oil. Sunflower species are divided up into two main categories: Oilseed and Non-oilseed.


Oilseed sunflowers produce solid black seeds that are high in oil content. These are the seeds we process for sunflower oil and meal, which is the bi-product. Non-oilseed sunflowers, which are also known as confectionery sunflowers, produce black and white striped seeds. These are the seeds are used for snacking and they taste great with some sea salt or barbecue flavoring.

Our favorite sunflowers at Simply Sunflower are Oilseed Sunflowers because they produce the delicious Simply Sunflower All Natural Oil that we know and love! The oilseeds look a bit different than the sunflower seeds we like to enjoy as a snack at sporting events. Oilseeds are completely black, instead of black and white striped and they are smaller than non-oilseed or confectionery sunflower seeds. Oilseeds have a thinner outside shells/hulls and a fuller area that contains the meat of the seed. This makes them great for crushing into delicious Simply Sunflower All Natural Oil!


There are three different types of oilseed sunflower: Linoleic, Mid-Oleic, and High Oleic.



Linoleic Sunflower Oil is a polyunsaturated oil that contains linoleic acid, which is one of the two essential fatty acids our bodies require from food. Linoleic oil requires hydrogenation to be stable for frying. This kind of sunflower oil is used in margarine, shortening, and is also available as liquid salad oil.


Mid-Oleic Sunflower Oil is a beautiful combination of an oil that is stable without hydrogenation, but also has low saturated fat levels. This oil is the same kind that is used in Frito-Lay’s Sun Chips and other snack items with a healthier focus.


High Oleic Sunflower Oil is high in monounsaturated (oleic) acid. These sunflowers usually have a minimum of 80% oleic acid and are trans-fat free. This variety is more expensive, but offers long shelf stability without hydrogenation.


Simply Sunflower is made up of a mid-oleic and high oleic sunflower seed blend to offer you optimal health benefits, high vitamin E content, a delicious taste, and high-class frying performance from our product – not to mention one of the lowest saturated fat & trans-fat free oils on the market!


We hope you have enjoyed learning about the many different types of sunflowers. Make a wise choice for your family today by cooking with Simply Sunflower Oil. Not sure what to cook? Check out our Recipes Page for some delicious healthy options!


Have a bright, sunshine-filled day!

Your Simply Sunflower Team


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