Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 9–13 | Cite as

The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) in Mexico: further evidence for a North American domestication

  • Charles B. HeiserEmail author
Short Communication


I have concluded that my initial verification of a specimen recovered from the San Andrés archaeological site in Mexico as domesticated sunflower was incorrect. The specimen in question is most likely the seed of a bottle gourd. As yet there is no compelling evidence that the sunflower was grown as a food crop in Mexico prior to European contact. In addition, the complete absence of any early historical record for the sunflower in Mexico argues against its presence in pre-Columbian times. Although no dates or boundaries can be set, the wild sunflower may have grown in northernmost Mexico in early times. A southward range expansion for the species is probably very recent, perhaps in the last few hundred years with the development of a modern road system. The widely used common names of the sunflower in Mexico are in Spanish or with Spanish words in them, which suggests that the sunflower is a post-contact arrival.


Bottle gourd Domesticated sunflower Girasol Helianthus annuus Lagenaria siceraria Maíz de teja Mexico North America Plant domestication 



G. Anderson, M. Crouch, P. Davila, G. Fritz, A. Ocampo, L. Rieseberg, M. Schell, and B. Smith.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyJordan Hall. Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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