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The Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

The sunflower might be a common plant, but that does not mean that it is not a fascinating one when it comes to botany. So what can we learn from this beautiful and interesting flower?

Physical Description

A sunflower has a round center full of smaller petals and is surrounded by more sterile petals. These sterile petals are generally yellow, but can also be orange, or even red. Its yellow color is the reason it is known as a "sun" flower. The inside petals, also known as a floret, are what later on turn into the seeds that we know and love today.

The head of the plant itself can be up to 30 cm (12 inches) wide. So this means that a single sunflower can contain upwards of 2000 smaller flowers which later turn into the seeds, or "fruit," of the plant. They are often used as a snack food and is a really good source of healthy fats and even protein for those following a more plant-based diet.

These plants can also grow 5 to 12 feet high. So it can be anything from a garden staple to a massive plant close to the size of a small tree. They can also be used to take toxic chemicals like Arsenic and Uranium out of the soil, and have even been used in this way after Chernobyl.

Habitat and Location

The sunflower is an annual flower. It grows in sunny areas but is mainly found in the US and Europe where it is cultivated as a food crop. Although it can also be found in some parts of South America, Africa, and Australia, although not nearly to the extent.

Watch this interesting video about the sunflower below:

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