The Q&A Archives: Black Oil Sunflower Seed

Question: What particular type of sunflower do I have to plant in order to get black oil sunflower seeds? Rather than buying them for my birdfeeder, I would like to plant them myself. Also, can these seeds be eaten by people?

Answer: Black oil sunflowers are grown commercially and processed for their oil, so the seeds are not usually available on a retail basis. You might be able to plant some of the seeds you have purchased as bird seed (they often grow beneath the bird feeder, after all), or you might be able to buy a small quantity from a farm seed supplier or from a farmer.

Although theoretically edible, I would not eat them unless purchased specifically labeled "for human consumption" simply because without that assurance you have no way of knowing how they have been handled and/or what they may have been treated with between harvest and when they reach you.

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