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The scientific name for sunflowers is helianthus. "Helia" means sun and "anthus" is another word for flower. Sunflowers first grew in North America more than 1,000 years ago and were an important food for Native Americans. People from other countries like Spain took some back to Europe with them, and now they are grown in many other countries as well. Sunflower seeds are used for many products besides just being eaten as they are. The oil is removed from them to cook with or to be added to other foods, and the shelled seeds are added to breads, cereals and trail mixes.