Black sunflower can grow from 2 to 5 feet high forming small heads full of black seed high in oil content. The seed makes excellent feed for all game birds, especially doves. The plants are highly preferred by deer when they are young and still growing. It takes about 110 days for seed to mature from germination.
The Black Peredovik Sunflower has its origin in Russia. It produces black oil seeds that are a favorite of turkeys, quail, deer, ducks and wild birds. It is a good variety to sow by the acre for migratory birds to feed upon, as it contains nutritious oil and calories. When compared to striped sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds are meatier and have a higher oil content, giving birds more nutrition and calories in every bite. Black oil seeds also have thinner shells, making them easier for small birds to crack. Wild animals love the taste of this sunflower. Left to stand into fall and winter, the residue can provide a wildlife shelter for many months.
- 28 percent fat
- 25 percent fiber
- 15 percent protein
- B vitamins
- Vitamin E
For general cover crop use, sunflowers produce lots of biomass, but become lignified and woody at an earlier maturity than other species, and are only suitable as forage while still in the vegetative state. They are best suited as one component of a cover crop mix, and draw bees, other pollinators, and birds to the field.
Strong taproots penetrate vertically downward with widely spreading branch roots, and the enlarged taproot eventually grows many laterals. Large broadleaves are also great weed suppressors.