The sunflower seed is the fruit of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus).
There are three types of commonly used sunflower seeds: linoleic (most common), high oleic, and NuSun. Each has its own unique levels of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
The solid black husked variety (black oil sunflower seeds) is usually pressed to extract their oil. Striped sunflower seeds are primarily used for food
Sunflower oil is typically extracted by applying pressure to the sunflower seeds. It is used as is, or can be processed into polyunsaturated margarines. The protein-rich residue from the pressing is used as livestock feed.
Widely eaten as a healthy snack, sunflower seeds can also be used as garnishes or cooking ingredients and are also sold for pet food and wild birds.
The hulls, or shells, are mostly composed of cellulose and decompose slowly. They are burned as biomass fuel.