I love Sunflowers they are the skyscrapers of the flower world, sunny by name and sunny by nature. They are bee loving plants and my lord have they some history and science behind them! These facts might help you out some time, somewhere and you might least expect it…
- They were brought to Europe in the 16th century, and are native to S.America and Mexico.
- They are the most economically important plants – Oil, animal feed, paper, latex – yes sunflowers produce latex!
- The pattern of the sunflower’s florets (the circle containing small flowers crowned together) actually have a mathematical model, expressed in polar coordinates. This model was devised by H.Vogel in 1979.
- There is a sun flower with the name ‘Irish Eyes’
- In 2009, the tallest Sunflower stood at 8m in Germany and was recorded in the Guinness book of records.
- The most astounding fact I discovered about Sunflowers was they are used for Phytoremediation to extract toxic ingredients from soils. Such as lead, arsenic and uranium.
- And they were used to remove caesium-137 and strontium-90 from a nearby pond after the Chernobyl disaster and a similar campaign was mounted in response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Amazing facts for an amazing plant. I love to teach children about nature, and for me Sunflowers are the best plants for showing children how versatile nature is. They also show children how plants grow and can introduce them to gardening in a fun way. You can also explain about bees and honey as the sunflower will attract bees from miles away.
I had a sunflower plant in my garden this year, I saved the heads and dried them out to preserve the seed. This will give me a free crop of sunflowers for next year saving me a few bob and giving satisfaction – once they grow!
Find out more about the Sunflower Here.