Plant of the Day

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Helianthus annuus (sunflower) is grown for its edible seeds and oil and often in gardens as an annual ornamental plant. Here the tall flowers are being supported by the iron hoops of a pergola, together they make an impressive display. The birds will enjoy the seed heads in early winter.

Kew Gardens had some great information on the behaviour of sunflowers: “It is a common misconception that sunflower heads are heliotropic and track the sun across the sky. The alignment of sunflowers in a field is due to heliotropism at an earlier stage of their development, while the flower heads are still in bud. The buds follow the sun until the end of the bud stage when they finally position themselves facing east. This behaviour makes blooming sunflowers growing in the open like living compasses with north to the left, west behind and south to the right.”

Jill Raggett