Scattered and common. What do we mean when we call a plant a "sunflower"? Often, when a plant is called a "sunflower," it refers to this species, Helianthus annuus, or one of its many cultivated forms. But it is also correct to call any species in genus Helianthus a sunflower, as this is the sunflower genus (Helia = sun; anthus = flower). Even more broadly speaking, the third largest tribe (subgroup) of the aster family is the Heliantheae, which contains genus Helianthus plus about 2,500 other species globally; many of these resemble and are called sunflowers. Finally, although it is also called the "aster" or "daisy" family, many people call the entire Asteraceae "the sunflower family." The second largest family of vascular plants in the world, comprising more than 32,000 species globally, the Asteraceae includes sunflowers, asters, daisies, coneflowers, dandelions, ironweeds, goldenrods, zinnias, marigolds, snakeweeds, yarrows, thistles, cornflowers, lettuces, chicory, wormwood, tarragons, ragweeds, blazing stars, artichokes, knapweeds, beggars ticks, chrysanthemums, and many, many more. The family used to be called the Compositae, because all share the same basic type of composite (multiflowered) flower heads.