The incorrect amount of sunlight or temperature can affect plants. For instance, full-sun plants need the right temperature as well as from 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
There are three ways to correctly identify full-sun plants for your garden: 1) use heat-zone or plant hardiness maps, 2) know what’s growing there through visual inspections or online research, or 3) check the full list of full-sun herbs, vegetables, fruiting plants, and flowering plants.
Too much or too little sun can make plants change color, sicken and die. In short, plants need the right amount of sunlight to survive and produce. Here are three things that you can do.
Identify the Area
The term “full sun” refers to plants that require 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Too much or too little sun can make plants change color, sicken and die. In short, plants need the right amount of sunlight to survive and produce.
- Lack of sunlight: Full-sun plants that don’t get enough sunlight will lean towards a window or source of light. Outdoors, lack of sunlight makes full-sun plants grow longer, thinner, and weaker.
- Too much sunlight: Full-sun plants can also wilt, burn, shrivel, and die due to overexposure to the sun. In such cases, gardeners try and provide more shade or water.
The sunlight hours of your garden can be affected by location, season, sun blockers (shade, cloud cover, mist, fog). Check how your location matters.
- Sunlight hours: Whether your area gets 24 hours of sunlight, 24-hour nights, long or short days, or regular sunlight hours, temperatures and sun exposure varies if your location is on hillside or hilltop, full-or partly shadowed, cloudy, or has constant climate patterns.
- Temperature: Aside from sunlight, plants also need the right temperature. Plants that thrive in high temperatures grow poorly or die in low temperatures, and vice versa.
- Through gradual adaptation, plants can adjust and thrive in different conditions.
- The plants thriving in your area are perfect indicators of the plant species that have adapted to the prevailing temperature.
- Check out the American Horticultural Society’s plant heat zone map here. This map shows in red the areas with the highest average daily temperature.
- Check out the USDA Hardiness Zone Map here. This map shows 12 areas grouped by climate heat and coldness.
- Maps: Experts have developed maps that indicate general past trends of climate, temperature, and sunlight exposure in areas around the world.
- The warmest planting areas in the USA are colored red on the heat zone map
- The warmest planting areas in the USA are colored red on the heat zone map
- Zone 13: From +15 °C (60 °F) to +21.1 °C (70 °F) such as in Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico
- Zone 12: From +10 °C (50 °F) to +15.6 °C (60 °F)
- Zone 11: From +4.4 °C (40 °F) to +10 °C (50 °F) such as fields and gardens in the deep South and the coastal areas of the USA
If you’re one of the many who find these maps a bit confusing, try the following:
- The World Plant Hardiness Zones
- Climate zones of the USA
- The Trewartha climate classification system here addresses the limitation of the Koppen-Geiger climate classification system here
- The hardiness zone map of the Arbor Day Foundation here
See What’s Growing
There are several ways for you to identify the full-sun plants that are growing in your area. You can do physical or online surveys. You can drive-by fields, farms, gardens, or you can talk to local experienced plant growers.
- Fresh markets: Visit places that sell fresh produce such as weekend markets, open-air markets, farmers’ markets, the produce section of grocery stories, and flower shops.
- Plant markets: Visit stores that sell plants, seeds, and agricultural stuff. They can provide information on full-sun plant varieties for your location.
- Talk to owners of plant nurseries about their best-selling plant stocks, seedlings, seeds, and hybrids.
- Seed suppliers and plant nurseries usually list hardiness zones, but those with exaggerated growing zones are usually unreliable. Note that these may not include climate zones, which are important to your plant selection.
- Online sources: You can ask questions on Quora, Twitter, or your online community on Facebook. You can look at plant care and plant type sections on Pinterest, ask a search engine, or explore plant databases such as these.
Final List of Full Sun Plants
Gardens are purpose-specific. You’re growing flowers for color and ornament, fruits for enjoyment, veggies for nutrition and cooking, or herbs for culinary or medicinal uses.
I’ve included four lists of examples of full-sun herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers for you to check out. They’re not complete by all means, but they’re a good place to start.
Before you begin, keep in mind that what we know about weather, temperature, and plants are based on information from the past.
- Climates and temperatures: Local climates and temperatures are changing due to changes in the ozone layer, corona sunspot events on our sun, pollution effects around the world’s mantle, and erratic weather developments. Use these lists for guidance instead of for definitive rules.
- Plant species and adaptations: At the same time, the biological exchange, spread, and exports of plant species continue despite national boundaries, rules, and technology. Thus, plants known to grow in one type of climate can adapt and thrive over time in another climate.
- Plant traits and characteristics may also change in the course of strain adaptation or species evolution. For instance, harmless plants may develop harmful toxins. Edible parts may become fatal. Again, use the following lists with care.
First, let’s see what herbs thrive in full sun.56 Full-Sun Herbs
The term “herb” can refer to a bush or plant with non-woody stems. That’s a bit confusing when we talk about herbs and herbal stuff.
You see, the term “herbals” actually refers to the roots, leaves, bark, flowers, and other plant parts that can be gathered from vines, bushes, or trees to be used for flavoring, medicinal, perfume, food, and other uses.
In the following herbal identification list, the “zone” labels indicate the USDA plant hardiness zones that correspond to heat zones (average sunshine exposure per day). Put simply, the higher numbers indicate plants that grow well in more sunshine.
In other words, herbals with only high zone numbers love a lot of sun and heat. Those with a range of numbers from low to high mean that they’re fine with various amounts of heat and sunlight.
Warning: The following list is for information only. Please use it with caution. Many of these herbals can be toxic or can cause unwanted side effects.
|Common names||Hardiness Zones||Hardiness Zones|
|Amaranth, love lies bleeding, careless weed, Palmer’s pigweed, Palmer amaranth, dioecious amaranth, tumbleweed||7-13||Amaranthus palmeri|
|Basil, surasa, sweet basil, joseph wort, garden basil, lemon basil, Thai basil, Genovese basil, purple basil||10-13||Ocimum basilicum|
|Bay laurel, laurel, Grecian laurel, sweet bay, true laurel,||10-13||Laurus nobilis|
|Black cumin, black seed, fennel flower, kalonji, black caraway, Roman coriander||5-10||Nigella sativa|
|Black nightshade, European black nightshade, blackberry nightshade||10-13||Solanum nigrum|
|Borage, burrage, bugloss, bee plant, beebread, borago, cool tankard||3-10||Borago officinalis|
|Calendula, marigold, common marigold, ruddles, Scotch marigold||9-11||Calendula officinalis|
|Canary creeper, canary bird flower, nasturtium||9-13||Tropaeolum peregrinum|
|Caraway, meridian fennel, Persian cumin, carvi||4-10||Carum carvi|
|Cayenne pepper, tabasco pepper, bird pepper, chili pepper, sweet pepper, red pepper, Christmas pepper, ornamental chili pepper||9-11||Capsicum annuum|
|Chervil, French parsley, garden chervil||8-10||Anthriscus cerefolium|
|Chia, Mexican chia, salba chia||9-12||Salvia hispanica|
|Chicory, bunk, cornflower, succory, blue daisy, wild endive, horseweed, blue dandelion, coffeeweed, blue sailors, blue weed, ragged sailors, wild bachelor’s buttons||3-10||Cichorium intybus|
|Flowering onion, chives and garlic chives||3-10||Allium schoenoprasum|
|Cilantro (see Coriander)||10-13|
|Coriander seeds, Cilantro leaves, Chinese parsley, dhania||2-11||Coriandrum sativum|
|Cumin, anis acre, Roman caraway, faux anis||5-10||Cuminum cyminum|
|Dill, American dill||9-11||Anethum graveolens|
|Eucalyptus, blue gum, fever tree||8-11||Eucalyptus gunnii, E. globulus, E. nitens|
|Fennel, marathos||6-11||Foeniculum vulgare|
|Fenugreek, goat’s horn, Greek hayseed, hilba, methi, Greek clover||9-11||Trigonella foenum-graecum|
|Ginger, Canton ginger, cooking ginger, canton, stem ginger, common ginger||7-10||Zingiber officinale|
|Green onion, spring onion or scallion||6-9||Allium fistulosum|
|Henna, mignonette, Egyptian privet||9-11||Lawsonia inermis|
|Holy basil, baranda, brinda, Indian basil||7-10||Ocimum sanctum, O. tenuiflorum|
|Kalanchoe, Madagascar widow’s-thrill, flaming Katy, florist kalanchoe, Christmas kalanchoe,||10-12||Kalanchoe blossfeldiana|
|Lantana, wild sage, west Indian lantana, big sage, red sage, white sage, tickberry, lantana verbena||9-13||Lantana camara|
|Lemon eucalyptus, lemon scented gum, spotted gum, aerial eucalyptus, Australian fever tree||8-11||Eucalyptus citriodora|
|Lemon verbena||8-11||Aloysia citriodora|
|Lemongrass, fever grass, citronella grass, lemon grass, citron grass, West Indian lemongrass||6-9||Cymbopogon citratus|
|Licorice, liquorice, sweet root, sweetwood||10-13||Glycyrrhiza glabra|
|Lovage, smellage, Maggi plant, American lovage, Cornish lovage, Italian lovage, old English lovage||3-9||Levisticum officinale|
|Marjoram, sweet marjoram, knotted marjoram, garden marjoram||6-9||Origanum majorana|
|Mexican mint marigold, ansillo, sweet mace, Mexican tarragon or marigold, sweet-scented marigold, Texas tarragon, pericón, yerbaniz||6-11||Tagetes lucida|
|Mint, lamb mint, brandy mint, American mint, lammint, peppermint||3-9||Mentha piperita|
|Nasturtium, common nasturtium, garden nasturtium, monks cress, Indian cress, poor man’s capers||9-11||Tropaeolum majus|
|Nepitella, nepetella, nepeta, lesser calamint, mentuccia, calamintha||5-10||Clinopodium nepeta|
|Oregano, wild marjoram||5-10||Origanum vulgare hirtum|
|Parsley, Hamburg, garden parsley, rock parsley, common parsley, German parsley||4-9||Petroselinum crispum|
|Patchouli, stinkweed, putcha-pot, patchouly, mentha cablin||9-11||Pogostemon cablin|
|Racemosa coffee||9-13||Coffea racemosa|
|Red mint, Japanese basil, beefsteak plant, purple basil, pea mint, red raripila, rust-free mint||9-13||Mentha rubra raripila|
|Rosemary, compass weed, romero, compass plant, rosmarin, incensier, polar plant||7-10||Salvia rosmarinus, Rosmarinus officinalis|
|Rue, herb of grace, strong-smelling rue, garden rue, common rue||6-11||Ruta graveolens|
|Sage, Dalmatian sage, kitchen sage, garden sage, red sage, purple sage, golden sage, broadleaf sage||3-10||Salvia officinalis|
|Scented geranium, sweet scented geranium, rose geranium, rose-scent geranium, old-fashioned rose geranium||8-13||Pelargonium graveolens|
|Stevia, sweet herb, candy leaf, honey yerba, sweet leaf||8-11||Stevia rebaudiana|
|Summer savory||10-11||Satureja hortensis|
|Tarragon, sagewort, long hao, estragon, false tarragon||8-10||Artemisia dracunculus|
|Thyme, garden thyme, common thyme||4-9||Thymus vulgaris|
|Turmeric, haldi, manjal||8-13||Curcuma longa|
|Valerian, garden valerian, all-heal, setwall, garden heliotrope||4-9||Valerian officinalis|
|Winter savory, mountain savory||6-11||Satureja montana|
|Wormseed, Mexican-tea, Jesuit’s tea, herba sanctæ Mariæ, paico, epazote||9-13||Dysphania ambrosioides|
|Yarrow, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, stench grass, bloodwort, sanguinary, soldier’s woundwort, milfoil, thousand leaf, nosebleed||3-9||Achillea millefolium|
PRO TIP: Full-sun herbs can grow in high, mild, or low temperatures. For instance, winter herbs such as chamomile, coriander, chives, curry leaf, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme can be grown in low temperatures provided they get full sun and enough heat.
Next, here’s a list of flowers that thrive in full sun.
56 Full-Sun Flowers
The flowers of a plant usually stand out from foliage with their colors and shapes to attract pollinators (bees). Petals are usually thinner and more tender than leaves, so too much sun can cause colors to bleach, petals to shrink, shrivel, and drop off faster.
In the following list, higher-numbered hardiness zones indicate flowers that bloom well in high temperature and high sunlight hours. Low numbers indicate plants that are hardy and thrive in lower temperatures.
|Common Name||Hardiness Zones||Scientific Name|
|Amaranth, love lies bleeding, spiny amaranthus, needle burr, spiny pigweed, prickly callau, prickly caterpillar, spiny callaloo, sticker weed||2-11||Amaranthus|
|Amaryllis, March lily, belladonna lily, naked-lady-lily||7-11||Amaryllis belladonna|
|Anthurium, tailflower, flamingo lily, laceleaf||10-13||Anthurium andraeanum|
|Aster, sweet aster, Chinese aster, New England aster, European Michaelmas daisy, calico aster, smooth aster, Italian aster, aromatic aster, New York aster||7-13||Aster ageratoides|
|Baby’s breath, common baby’s breath, showy baby’s breath, panicled baby’s breath||1-13||Gypsophila paniculata|
|Begonia, angel wing begonia, cane-stemmed begonia, coral begonia||6-12||Begonia semperflorens cultorum|
|Bellflower, American bellflower, Codonopsis, Chinese bellflower, dane’s blood, clustered bellflower||3-11||Campanula|
|Bolivian begonia||10-12||Begonia boliviensis|
|Bougainvillea, paper flower||10-12||Bougainvillea glabra|
|Bugleweed, bugle herb, St. Lawrence plant, carpetweed, carpet bugleweed, common bugle, burgundy glow, bronze beauty, blue bugle,||4-11||Ajuga reptans|
|Bulbine, burn jelly plant, stalked bulbine, cat’s tail, snake flower||9-11||Bulbine frutescens|
|Calendula, pot marigold, ruddles, marigold||9-11||Calendula officinalis|
|Canna, purple arrowroot, edible canna, Indian shot, African arrowroot, Sierra Leone arrowroot||10-12||Canna indica|
|Carnation, clove pink||6-12||Dianthus caryophyllus|
|Chrysanthemum, mums, chrysanths, golden daisy||10-13||Chrysanthemum indicum|
|Clematis, western blue, virgin’s bower, mountain clematis||9-12||Clematis occidentalis|
|Columbine, granny’s bonnet||3-11||Aquilegia|
|Coral bell, alum root||4-11||Heuchera|
|Cosmos, garden cosmos, Mexican aster||3-11||Cosmos bipinnatus|
|Dahlia, dinner plate dahlia, Kelvin floodlight||8-12||Dahlia pinnata|
|Daisy, English daisy, lawn daisy, common daisy||4-11||Bellis perennis|
|Desert rose, mock azalea, impala lily, kudu, sabi star||10-13||Adenium obesum|
|Diamond frost, graceful spurge, baby’s breath euphorbia||10-12||Euphorbia hypericifolia|
|Fanflower, fairy fan flower||9-11||Scaevola aemula|
|Gardenia, cape jasmine||8-11||Gardenia jasminoides|
|Geranium, cranesbill, wood cranesbill, woodland geranium||9-11||L. Geranium sylvaticum|
|Gerbera daisy, Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy||5-12||Gerbera jamesonii|
|Hibiscus, China rose, Hawaiian hibiscus, rose mallow shoeblack plant,||10-11||Hibiscus rosa sinensis|
|Ixora, jungle geranium, flame of the woods||9-11||Ixora coccinea|
|King’s mantle, bush clock vine, potato bush||10-11||Thunbergia Erecta|
|Lady banks rose, bank’s rose, climbing rose||9-11||Rosa banksiae|
|Lantana, lemon glow, wild sage, West Indian lantana||7-12||Lantana camara|
|Lisianthus, prairie gentian, bluebell gentian||9-12||Eustoma|
|Mandevilla, rock trumpet||9-11||Mandevilla|
|Million bells, seaside petunia, mini petunia, trailing petunia||9-11||Calibrachoa parviflora|
|Moss rose, moss-rose purslane, rose moss, rock rose, eleven o’clock, sun rose, Mexican rose,||2-11||Portulaca grandiflora|
|Mugwort, St. John’s plant, sailor’s tobacco, naughty man, riverside wormwood, felon herb, old Uncle Henry, chrysanthemum weed, wild wormwood||4-10||Artemisia vulgaris|
|Parakeet flower, false bird-of-paradise, parrot’s flower, parrot’s beak, parrot’s plantain,||10-13||Heliconia psittacorum|
|Penta, Egyptian star cluster, star flower||9-11||Pentas lanceolata|
|Periwinkle, Madagascar periwinkle, annual vinca||10-12||Catharanthus roseus|
|Pineapple sage, tangerine sage||8-11||Salvia elegans|
|Plumbago, cape forget me not, blue plumbago||9-11||Plumbago auriculata|
|Plumed cockscomb, silver cock’s comb||10-12||Celosia argentea|
|Plumeria, nosegay, frangipani||10-13||Plumeria rubra|
|Powderpuff, red powderpuff, pink tassel flower, pink powder-puff||9-11||Calliandra haematocephala|
|Sacred lotus, Indian lotus, Egyptian bean, water lily||8-13||Nelumbo nucifera|
|Scarlet rosemallow, crimson rosemallow, swamp hibiscus, red hibiscus, wild red mallow||6-12||Hibiscus coccineus|
|Spider flower, pink queen, grandfather’s whiskers||10-12||Cleome hassleriana|
|Summer snapdragon, angelonia||9-11||Angelonia angustifolia|
Next, let’s look at some fruiting plants that thrive in full-sun conditions.
34 Full-Sun Fruits
Heat-loving, fruit-bearing trees, bushes, and vines can provide us with an abundance of fruits in the right temperature and light. The good news is, many fruit-bearing plants from colder zones can be grown in higher-temperature zones too.
For instance, winter fruits such as raspberry, pear, grape, plum, apple, and blueberry can flourish in full sun at the right temperatures. Here are other fruit-bearing plants that love the sun.
|Common Name||Hardiness Zone||Scientific Name|
|Ackee, akee apple, ankye, achee, ayee||10-13||Blighia sapida|
|Alupag, longan, lychee,||10-13||Dimocarpus didyma|
|Ambersweet, Mandarin orange||9-11||Citrus sinensis|
|Avocado, alligator pear, avocado pear||9-13||Persea americana|
|Barbados cherry, acerola||10-13||Malpighia emarginata|
|Calamondin orange, calamansi, Philippine lemon, Philippine lime||9-11||Citrofortunella microcarpa|
|Cantaloupe, rock melon, sweet melon, Persian melon, muskmelon, netted melon, nutmeg melon||7-11||Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis|
|Cashew, kaju, cashew apple, cashew nut||9-11||Anacardium occidentale|
|Chinese-laurel, wild cherry, currant tree, Queensland cherry, bignay, salamander-tree,||10-13||Antidesma bunius|
|Coconut palm, coconut||11-13||Cocos nucifera|
|Dragon fruit, white-fleshed pitahaya||10-11||Hylocereus undatus|
|Grapefruit, pomelo, pamplemousse||9-13||Citrus × paradisi|
|Guava, yellow guava, lemon guava, apple guava, Brazilian guava||9-13||Psidium guajava|
|Jackfruit, breadfruit, jack tree||10-13||Artocarpus heterophyllus|
|Java olive, poon tree, wild indian almond, hazel sterculia||10-13||Sterculia foetida|
|Kiwi, kiwifruit||9-11||Actinidia deliciosa|
|Lemon, citron, limon||9-13||Citrus × limon|
|Loquat, Japanese plum, Japanese medlar||9-13||Eriobotrya japonica|
|Lychee, Chinese cherry, leechee||10-12||Litchi chinensis|
|Mango, manga, ambra||10-12||Mangifera indica|
|Mangosteen, manggis||11-13||Garcinia mangostana|
|Miracle fruit, miracle berry, sweet berry, miraculous berry||10-13||Synsepalum dulcificum|
|Navel Orange||9-13||Citrus sinensis Osbeck|
|Papaya, pawpaw||10-13||Carica papaya|
|Passion fruit, grenadine, purple granadilla||10-12||Passiflora edulis|
|Pineapple guava||9-13||Acca sellowiana|
|Pineapple, piña||9-11||Ananas comosus|
|Plantain, plátano, cooking banana, French plantain||10-13||Musa × paradisiaca|
|Soursop, custard apple, guanabana, Brazilian paw, cherimoya, graviola||10-13||Annona muricata|
|Starfruit, carambola, five-corner||10-12||Averrhoa carambola|
|Sugar apples, sweetsop, custard apple||10-11||Annona squamosa|
If your area experiences irregular seasonal or climatic patterns, this may be caused by pollution damage to the ozone layer or other meteorological conditions. In that case, please use the preceding tables as guides rather than as definitive standards.
20 Full-Sun Vegetables
The best time to plant full-sun veggies is during the warm season between mid-March and mid-April when temperatures start rising up to the 90s.
However, autumn or winter vegetables such as artichoke, arugula, broccoli, carrot, chard, collard, kale, broccoli, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, fava bean, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce, leek, parsnip, shallot, spinach, and zucchini can grow in with the right light and temperature.
PRO TIP: For full-sun vegetables, the best sunlight exposure would be a combination of morning sun and afternoon sun because hot midday sun can burn tender leaves.
|Common names||Hardiness Zones||Scientific names|
|Alpine mignonette strawberry||9-13||Fragaria vesca|
|Bush bean, string bean, green bean, garden bean, dwarf bean, kidney bean, field bean, snap bean, French bean, pole bean||3-13||Phaseolus vulgaris|
|Carrot, garden carrot, little finger carrot||3-10||Daucus carota sativus|
|Chard, beet, garden beet, red beet, spinach beet, sea kale beet, swiss chard, rhubarb||2-11||Beta vulgaris|
|Corn, maize, milho||2-11||Zea mays|
|Cucumber, gherkin, garden cucumber||4-12||Cucumis sativus|
|Eggplant, aubergine, melongine, garden egg, guinea squash||5-13||Solanum melongena|
|Kale, collards, green cabbage, leaf cabbage, borecole, wild cabbage||7-9||Brassica olera|
|Lettuce, iceberg lettuce, butterhead lettuce, red lettuce, bibb lettuce, romaine lettuce||7-13||Lactuca sativa|
|Mexican coriander, culantro, sawtooth coriander, long coriander, shadow beni, recao||9-13||Eryngium foetidum|
|Okra, ochro, ladies fingers, gumbo||6-11||Abelmoschus esculentus|
|Peas, green pea, snow pea, snap pea, English pea, sweet pea, garden pea||7-11||Pisum sativum|
|Pumpkin, gourd, musky gourd, winter squash, calabash||3-12||Cucurbita moschata|
|Radish, garden radish, cultivated radish, wild radish, Chinese radish, Japanese radish, Oriental radish, mooli, rabano||3-11||Raphanus sativus|
|Rocoto pepper, tree pepper, tree chili, rukutu||11-13||Capsicum pubescens|
|Spinach, samba lettuce||7-11||Spinacia oleracea|
|Sweet potato, yam, English sweet potato, Spanish sweet potato, Brazilian arrowroot, camote||10-12||Ipomoea batatas|
|Tomatillo, Mexican husk tomato, wild tomatillo, Mexican ground cherry, large-flower tomatillo, tomatillo ground-cherry, tomatillo, jamberry||6-10||Physalis philadelphica|
|Tomato, cherry tomato, garden tomato||3-13||Solanum lycopersicum|
|Zucchini, summer squash, field pumpkin, autumn squash, courgette, ornamental gourd, summer squash, winter squash, acorn squash, pepper squash, butternut squash||4-12||Cucurbita pepo|
You need to know your full-sun plants so that you can move potted plants to where they can get enough sunshine or provide them with the right amount of artificial lights.
On the other hand, if you’re gardening outdoors, you want to know what not to plant in shaded areas. To summarize:
- Full sun: The term “full sun” refers to plants that require 6 to 8 hours of sunshine daily. These can be herbs, vegetables, fruiting plants, or flowering plants that need high, low, or average temperatures. (Note: full sun does not mean high temperature).
- Sunlight hours: Too much or too little sunlight can affect the health and productivity of plants. The number of sunlight hours of each area can be determined by location according to plant hardiness zone mapping.
- Climate temperature: The climate temperature of each area affects plants, not just by the amount of sunshine but also by the amount of rain, snow, moisture, and wind according to the mapping of average area temperatures.
Here you know now what are the full sun plants. I wish you happy gardening!
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