Cherished by folks and pollinators alike, sunflowers are tall annual beauties that may develop to immense heights. Some species of sunflower tower over your head. In the meantime, dwarf varieties will be as small as just a few inches in peak, wanting extra like their Asteraceae household relations, daisies.
Appropriately named for his or her form and sunshine necessities, these beautiful flowers are an icon of happiness and summer time appeal. You in all probability know that sunflower seeds are edible, however what else have you learnt about this native wildflower?
1. A sunflower is made up of 1000’s of tiny flowers.
We typically contemplate the pinnacle of a sunflower to be one outsized flower, nevertheless it’s truly made up of as many as 2,000 smaller flowers. The massive yellow petals and brown facilities of the sunflower are particular person flowers themselves. All these flowers be a part of collectively on the base, making what seems to be one giant flower.
2. Sunflowers are native to North America.
Sunflowers, like tomatoes, potatoes, and corn, have been first grown in North America. Historians know they’ve been cultivated since at the very least 3000 BCE, which implies folks have been rising sunflowers in North America for greater than 5,000 years. Some archaeologists even speculate that Native American peoples grew sunflowers earlier than they began cultivating corn.
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3. There are about 70 types of sunflowers.
Though the phrase “sunflower” could conjure a picture of an enormous yellow bloom a number of toes tall, dozens of various sunflower species (at the very least 70) will be present in numerous areas. With petals of pink, orange, or purple and heights starting from inches to dozens of toes, these flowers can shock you with their selection and decorative aesthetics.
4. Ukraine is a prime international producer of sunflower merchandise.
Though sunflowers come from North America, they’re now grown everywhere in the world. In truth, the sunflower is the nationwide flower of Ukraine. Grown in Ukraine because the mid-18th century, the sunflower has been used as an emblem of peace. In mild of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict, the sunflower has additionally turn into a world image of solidarity with Ukraine.
Along with a number of different agricultural merchandise, Ukraine often produces one-third of the world’s sunflower oil, in accordance with the USDA. The nation is generally the world’s prime producer of sunflower oil, meal, and seed, exporting extra sunflower meal and oil than some other nation. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to international sunflower product shortages, amongst different international financial disruptions.
5. Sunflower seed spirals comply with the Fibonacci sequence.
Look intently on the sample of a sunflower’s seeds, and also you’ll discover a spiral sample. In lots of cases, the florets and seeds inside the sample truly comply with the Fibonacci sequence. On this mathematical sequence, every quantity is the sum of the earlier two consecutive numbers, so it goes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and so forth.
Depend the clockwise and counterclockwise spirals of seeds to the periphery, and also you’ll usually discover they add as much as two consecutive numbers within the sequence, like 55 and 89. Attempt it for your self!
6. Sunflower heads are edible.
Reality be informed, you’ll be able to eat any a part of a sunflower. Nonetheless, the leaves, petals, and stems could go away a lot to be desired by your palate, although no a part of the plant is toxic. That mentioned, immature sunflower heads will be fairly tasty when grilled or roasted the correct method. Sunflower heads take just a few minutes to arrange and cook dinner. Merely comply with a recipe like this one from Gilbertie’s Organics for simple, homegrown taste.
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7. Dried sunflower heads can be utilized as scrubbing pads.
Going inexperienced? As an alternative of shopping for a compostable scouring pad, make your personal out of your backyard. Sunflower heads are sturdy, in order that they make a terrific eco-friendly various to store-bought scrubbing pads. After drying out your sunflower heads, use them to wash cussed gunk off of your pots and pans.
8. Sunflowers are allelopathic.
For gardeners who haven’t heard the time period earlier than, allelopathic vegetation emit chemical compounds that hinder the expansion of different vegetation within the space. Sunflowers give off toxins, equivalent to terpenes and phenolic compounds, that kill their neighbors. As sunflowers reproduce by seed, their allelopathic nature offers them a head begin the next yr by clearing out among the competitors.
That is nice for pure weed management, however not ultimate when rising a bounty of different crops. Maintain vegetation like beans and potatoes away from sunflowers as a result of they’re notably inclined to the chemical compounds. Regardless of their allelopathic properties, sunflowers are nonetheless good for companion planting (at a distance) and may also help shade different crops like lettuce that may want a little bit break from the solar.
9. Sunflower heads monitor the solar.
Younger sunflowers are susceptible to heliotropism, which is to say they transfer to trace the solar. When the solar rises, the flowers face east, after which they flip all through the day because the solar strikes. By sundown, the bloom will face west. As a sunflower matures, the pinnacle will get heavier, and the flower stays pointing east all day lengthy.
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10. The tallest sunflower is over 30 toes tall.
Though sunflowers bloom simply as soon as a season, they will develop to unbelievable heights. The tallest sunflowers embrace the Titan, Giraffe, Sunzilla, Kong, and Pike’s Peak varieties.
In August 2014, Guinness World Data confirmed the peak of the world’s tallest sunflower at a towering peak of 30 toes and 1 inch. It was grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer in Kaarst, Germany, and it was the gardener’s third time breaking the world’s tallest sunflower file.