It's driving research efforts in our country. Wild sunflowers may hold the key to genetic resistance to diseases like head rot and sclerotinia wilt.
Dr. Khalid Rashid is a research scientist at the Agriculture Canada research station in Morden.
He says work on several species of wild perennial sunflower is yielding promising results.
Some of the wild accessions have been tested for 4 years now, and some species have exhibited signs of resistance, under field conditions, to wilt and head rot.
Rashid is confident scientists will be able to move the resistant genes from wild species into domesticated varieties.
He points to the success researchers had with the same process for downy mildew and rust.