I know that many of you enjoy flowers, especially sunflowers. With their brilliant yellow rays and magnificent centres, I too am fascinated and awed by these incredible blooms. I was recently lucky enough to be camped for three nights next to a paddock full of thousands of nodding yellow heads – a virtual sea of sunflowers. Where I live, these plants are not grown commercially, and indeed, are rarely seen, so I took advantage of this opportunity to soak in the massed plantings from every which angle!
This particular post will look at the flower head in some detail and the next will take some steps backward to get an overall impression of sunflowers en masse.
Something many people may not realise is that a “sunflower” is actually a collection of many hundreds of flowers (all those little florets in the centre are actually the real flowers – each capable of producing seed) with brilliant yellow bracts (not petals) around the outside of the flower head. The intricate arrangement of the florets is so precise, it can be described using a mathematical model!