My plant of the week is one admired by most everyone, and is sure to make you smile when you see one, or two, or a whole field of them. It’s Helianthus (Greek words meaning sun and flower) annuus, or known to you and me as the Sunflower. And today there are so many species and selections of sunflowers available for our gardens it’s simply unreal. I would venture to say most everyone (kids to adults) recognize a sunflower, but here is an annual with a history that goes way, way back, moving across several continents, is used for so many things including a food source, and is a player in our economy as well. Do some research and learn more about this magnificent summer blooming annual, sure to make us all smile. (www.sunflowernsa.com will get you started)
Common crop among American Indian tribes / native to North America but commercialized in Russia then back to North America for hybridization / each sunflower is made up of thousands of teeny flowers called florets / yes, the younger sunflowers may exhibit Heliotropism where they actually move to face the sun, but generally mature flowers face the east / worlds record for tallest sunflower is 27’ grown in Germany / sunflowers can be used to extract toxins such as lead, arsenic, and uranium from the soil and water / harvest sunflowers in the morning / great plant for kids – or anyone to grow!