How to Identify Sunflower Seeds


A sunny addition to the garden, the sunflower also bears seeds that make a tasty snack. When looking for sunflower seeds to plant or eat, you will need to know how to identify them. What you do with the seeds after you know what they are is up to you. If not planting them, try roasting the seeds whole and cracking the seeds between your teeth, or just enjoy the seeds raw. Serve leftover seeds to the birds and squirrels in your yard to distract them from eating other things in your garden.

Step 1

Look for large sunflowers with yellow petals surrounding a brown or black central head containing the seeds.

Step 2

Wait for the petals to droop and begin to fall off and the back of the head to change to brown.

Step 3

Cut the sunflower stem one foot below the head and hang upside down in a cool, dry spot until it is completely dried.

Step 4

Rub your hand across the front of the head in the area full of the black seeds.

Step 5

Identify by looking for teardrop-shaped seeds with white stripes on black background.

Things You'll Need

  • Sunflowers
  • Scissors


  • McCall: Penn State Master Gardeners - Harvesting Sunflower Seeds
  • World's Healthiest Foods: Sunflowers Seeds

Who Can Help

  • Old Fashioned Living: Growing Sunflower Seeds
  • University of Missouri: Drying and Roasting Sunflower Seeds
Keywords: sunflower seeds, identify seeds, sunflower uses

About this Author

Athena Hessong began her freelance writing career in 2004. She draws upon experiences and knowledge gained from teaching all high school subjects for seven years. Hessong earned a Bachelor's in Arts in history from the University of Houston and is a current member of the Society of Professional Journalists.