EditSunflowers originate in the Americas. They were first domesticated in what is now Mexico and the Southern United States.Domestic sunflower seeds have been found in Mexico, dating to 2100 BCE. Native American people grew sunflowers as a crop from Mexico to Southern Canada. In the 16th century the first crop breeds were brought from America to Europe by explorers.
Sunflowers are thought to have been domesticated 3000–5000 years ago by Native Americans who would use them primarily as a source for edible seeds. They were then introduced to Europe in the early 16th century and made their way to Russia. In Russia, where oilseed cultivators were located, these flowers were developed and grown on an industrial scale. Russia then reintroduced this oilseed cultivation process to North America in the mid-20th century; North America began their commercial era of sunflower production and breeding.New breeds of the Helianthus spp. began to become more prominent in new geographical areas.