It is sunflower season! They are brilliant, amazing flowers, especially if you are lucky enough to come across a whole field of them…a sea of color.
But if you look closer, closer, and closer still, you can appreciate the delicate complexity of these flowers. And in fact, each one is not actually a single flower, but 1000-2000 tiny individual flowers joined at the base. It’s almost as if each “single” flower is a microscopic garden itself. I also learned a new word as I delved deeper into the wonder of sunflowers – heliotropism. If you’ve ever noticed sunflowers, especially a field of them, you’ve probably noted that they are always facing the sun. The heads actually track the sun’s movement, known as heliotropism.
Unlike so many flowers we see in gardens today, sunflowers are native to the Americas. They were domesticated as early as 1000 BC, because they are a great food source; each “one” has thousands of seeds. Today the main use of sunflowers, though, is for oil. Another use I discovered? A bird feeder! Enjoy them while they are blooming, then harvest them for the birds.