Daisy vs. Sunflower: How To Spot The Difference

When you think of Daisies, you may think of small white flowers with a bright yellow center. When you think about those flowers, it can be hard to understand how people get bright, yellow Sunflowers and Daisies confused. 

However, there isn’t just one variety of Daisy. There are over 20,000 varieties of Daisies and over 70 species of Sunflower, and no two species look the same. While the most common Daisy may be white, there are various colors, from brown to pink.

Since there are so many varieties of Daisies, it is easier to identify the Sunflower; generally, Sunflowers have fuzzy leaves with serrated edges and hard seeds in the center of their flowers that can be pulled out and eaten.

Despite looking similar, Daisies and Sunflowers also have different meanings, so when giving someone a gift of flowers, they aren’t interchangeable. 

What Are the Similarities in a Daisy and Sunflower?

Sunflowers and Daisies both enjoy growing in full sun. Like Sunflowers, some species of Daisy move with the sun and close their petals or droop at night after the sun goes down. This is a process known as heliotropism. They are also very pretty and come in a variety of colors.

Additionally, they both have very similar flower shapes. Both Daisies and Sunflowers have a bold center with long, narrow petals surrounding them. 

How Do You Identify Daisies?

There are well over 20,000 different varieties of Daisies in the world. Due to the sheer number and large variety, it is hard to make generalizations about Daisies. However, we will focus on common Daisies that are easy to find and abundant worldwide. 

Daisies generally have anywhere between 15 and 30 petals surrounding a yellow center. Daisies are also usually smaller, though there is enough variation in both types of flowers that this isn’t always the case. Usually, Daisies don’t get much taller than 8 inches (20 cm), but the common ones are often around 2 inches (5 cm) tall.  

Daisies are also perennials. They will grow back year after year. 

What Are the Colors of Daisy Flowers?

Array of DaisiesThe most well-known Daisies are white. These are the English Daisies. However, there are also red, pink, and blue Daisies which are fairly common. However, purple, yellow, brown, and even flowers with two or more colors exist. 

Additionally, while most Daisies have bright yellow centers, some have purple, red, and brown. 

Are Daisies in the Sunflower Family?

Daisies and Sunflowers are in the same family. That is the family of Asteraceae. This means mixing up Daisies and Sunflowers is easy, as they share many of the same genetics and features. 

However, they are also of different genera, which means they still have some pretty distinctive features. 

Daisies vs. Chamomile

Both Daisies and Chamomiles are in the same family, Asteraceae. They also both most commonly have white petals with thick yellow centers. Usually, however, Chamomile flowers are bigger, and their flowers grow on skinny stems with skinny leaves. Daisies rarely grow leaves on the stems that flowers are growing on, and the white varieties tend to grow only 2 inches (5 cm) tall.

The final differentiation between these two plants is that Daisies usually grow petals in layers and typically have at least two rows of petals. However, Chamomile only has one row. So while the petals may look the same, they are all in a line around the yellow center instead of having multiple layers. 

How Do I Identify a Sunflower Plant?

There are quite a few different species of Sunflower, about 70 in total. Still, there are many more similarities among the different species than you will find with Daisies. The leaves are the biggest and easiest ways to identify a Sunflower. 

If you have ever felt a Sunflower leaf before, you will know that they feel bristly or hairy. While not all Sunflowers have leaves with hair on them, most of them do. The shapes of the leaves can be different, as there are heart, oval, and spike leaves, but the fuzziness is standard amongst them all. 

The leaves usually have serrated edges instead of smooth, rounded edges like you would find on many other plants. 

Most Sunflowers are also annual. They will only grow for one year before dying. However, they can seed, meaning other Sunflowers may grow back in their place. Sunflowers grow quickly as well and often get much taller than Daisies. They bloom in late summer but will grow quickly, up to a couple of inches a day. 

Sunflowers can reach up to 14 feet (4 m) tall, so growing a couple of inches a day will require them to grow for quite a while before reaching their max height. 

The final way to tell Sunflowers and Daisies apart is the center of the flower. Sunflower centers will harden up and turn into seeds that are easily harvested. 

What Are the Colors of Sunflowers?

Sunflowers tend to stay in the range of colors more associated with muted natural colors or fall colors. They don’t often come in bright colors, with the exception being the traditional yellow. More varieties of pinks and reds are coming out, but that is about it. 

Naturally, the Sunflowers you will see when exploring are gold, yellow, orange, red, mahogany, and chocolate brown. There may even be flowers in multiple colors. Additionally, most of the centers of Sunflowers are black to chocolate brown. 

What Flowers Look Like Sunflowers?

There are many more flowers than just Daisies that can be mistaken for Sunflowers. A lot of them are in the same family, so they share a lot of the same features. 

Some examples are:

  • Coneflowers
  • Black-Eyed Susans
  • Bush Daisies
  • Chrysanthemums
  • False Sunflowers

Gerbera vs. Sunflower

Gerberas are yet another Daisy variety. However, they can look remarkably similar to Sunflowers. Not only do they have large, dark centers, but they have narrow, multiple-layered petals as well. 

However, there are, thankfully, still a few differences to tell them apart. While not always the case, most Sunflowers have pointed petals, whereas the Gerbera Daisy has rounded petals. However, you can still look at the leaves and try to get seeds from the center of the flower to help you tell the difference. 

Another way to tell these two flowers apart is to look at the petals. Sunflowers have just one type of petal: the long and often pointed ones. The Gerbera flower has two. They usually look very similar, but the second set is smaller and surrounds the center of the flower. 

Sunflowers and Daisies Meaning

Knowing the meaning behind flowers can help you buy the right gift for a friend or family member, but sometimes it is fun to learn. Despite looking similar, these flowers have drastically different meanings that make them ideal gifts at different times in a person’s life or for different situations. 

Sunflowers usually symbolize loyalty, adoration, and happiness. They are also sometimes associated with longevity and optimism. This means they are a great flower to get someone to help brighten their day or to show that you admire them. 

Daisies are often associated with purity, innocence, rebirth, and love. Most of the time, these flowers are ideal for children as a gift. However, they can also symbolize new beginnings, so they are an excellent gift for someone who is making a drastic life change or when you want to wish them good luck on a new venture. 

Together, they can symbolize happiness and joy for coming changes and future endeavors or long and happy life for a child. 


With over 20,000 different varieties of Daisy out there, it makes sense that some may look very different from Sunflowers, while others are easily confused. However, their wide array of differences also makes them difficult to give specifics on. 

Since there are so many varieties of Daisies, it is easier to identify the Sunflower; generally, Sunflowers have fuzzy leaves with serrated edges with hard seeds in the center of their flowers that can be pulled out and eaten.

While there are ways to tell certain species apart, it is hard to do that as a generalization of Daisies, as they are so different. There are also several different species of Sunflowers, but with only 70 species, it is much easier to make generalizations.