The sunflower facts were gathered from various online sites. As readers of this blog know – and drop-ins will find out – Grenville and I like learning and sharing information.
The default direction of the sunflower head is to point east towards sunrise (the location of the sun when it rises over the horizon in the morning.) During the day motor cells in the sunflower stem tilt the flower bud to try to receive a maximum amount of sunlight. By evening, the sunflower head is pointing west, towards sunset (the location of the sun on the horizon just before it is no longer visible.) This causes the sunflower to basically trace a 180 degree arc, tracking the sun's position throughout the day, from horizon to horizon, sunrise to sunset. Overnight, the sunflower will reset to its original eastward positioning and wait for the morning, ready to follow the sun's path once again. Once blooming however, sunflowers no longer exhibit heliotropic behavior, and the stem is generally frozen into an eastward-facing position. What’s called the flower is actually a head (formally composite flower) of numerous florets (small flowers) crowded together. The outer florets are the sterile ray florets and can be yellow, maroon, orange, or other colors. The florets inside the circular head are called disc florets, which mature into seeds. The florets within the sunflower's cluster are arranged in a spiral pattern. Each floret is oriented toward the next by approximately the golden angle, 137.5°, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. Typically, there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other; on a very large sunflower there could be 89 in one direction and 144 in the other. This pattern produces the most efficient packing of seeds within the flower head. Although a sunflower resembles one huge flower, a single sunflower head consist of 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers (florets) joined together by a receptacle base.
Sunflowers commonly grow to heights between 5 to 12 feet. In 1986, the tallest sunflower – 25 ft 5.5 in. was grown in the Netherlands.
The scientific name of sunflowers is Helianthus – Helia for sun and Anthus for flower. Sunflowers belong to the family Asteraceae ( aster family). The sunflower's name is believed to have originated from the connection of the plant to the sun, both in looks and behavior. The sunflower is native to North America and was used by the Indians for food and oil. Some farmers use it to feed their livestock. They are a great way to attract birds and bees to your yard.
Sunflower seeds are rich in oil, which they store as a source of energy and food. Sunflower seeds are crushed to give oil, which is frequently used for cooking and also is used in the manufacture of cosmetics and machinery lubricants. Experiments have shown that sunflower oil can be made into plastics.
In the U.S. the sunflower is the state flower of Kansas. But its the national flower of Russia which grows the most sunflowers.
and you cannot see the shadow.
It's what sunflowers do." – Helen Keller
Want to know more about sunflowers? There’s lots of information online at the National Sunflower Association.