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Hey folks–

Today I’m learning and writing a bit about sunflowers.  They’ve been on my mind simply because they have been bringing me lots of joy of late.  There is one in full bloom in my front yard (pictured) and one near the front gate at Sarvodaya that I see regularly.  I grew the one in my front yard from seed and the anticipation of watching it climb skyward, then peek a couple petals out and finally open was really enjoyable.  I give it a nod of thanks every time I come home.IMG_6284

Something I didn’t know is that almost all species of sunflowers are native to North America.  Asteraceae is the family, Helianthus is the genus, with about 70 species of sunflowers.

When sunflowers are buds they move during the day to face the sun but stop once they begin blooming; this phenomenon is called heliotropism.  When they are mature, sunflowers generally face east.

sunflowers have petiolate leaves, that is their leaves have a stalk attaching them to the main stem.  Leaves are dentate (toothed) and sometimes sticky.   The flowers include the large rosette of petals surrounding small flowers in the middle, which bloom in succession towards the center.  When the blooming ends the flower bows over, which manages to keep the newly formed seeds drier and reduce the possibility of fungal attack.

I’ll definitely be growing more sunflowers and enjoying them in the coming seasons.

-Katie