Sunflower field. The french word for sunflowers is 'Tournesols'. 'Tourner' means 'turn' and 'Sol' stands for 'sun. They grow average of between 5 ft - 12 ft, while the world's tallest was recorded 9.17m / 30ft in Germany by a veteran tall sunflower grower having held the record three times before. Wild sunflowers originated in America. American Indians domesticated them and sent the seeds to Europe in the 16th century.