With their bright colors and tall prowess, it’s easy to see why sunflowers have found their place in the sun.
After a little searching it turns out that sunflowers are more than just pretty faces. They are a valuable food source for many living creatures from bees to birds and beyond.
In fact, sunflowers can be processed into a peanut butter like substance called sunbutter, according to “Sunflower Facts for Kids” posted on www.sciencekids.co.nz.
The article also pointed out that in Germany the seeds are mixed with rye flour to make a bread called Sonnenblumenkernbrot.
Other websites touted more interesting facts about the colorful plants.
Sunflowers are native to North America and were cultivated in North America as far back as 3,000 BCE, according to an article titled “10 Glorious Facts About Sunflowers” by Miss Cellania posted on mentalfloss.com.
The flowers do track the sun.
“Sunflowers display a behavior called heliotropism. The flower buds and young blossoms will face east in the morning and follow the sun as the earth moves during the day,” the article said.
However, the article said that as the flowers mature the heads will generally remain facing east.
Speaking of sun, sunflowers need at least six to eight hours of sun a day, according to the post.
The article went on to say that sunflowers themselves are actually made up of more tiny flowers.
“The petals we see around the outside are called ray florets, and they cannot reproduce. But the disc florets in the middle, where the seeds develop, have both male and female sex organs, and each produce a seed,” the article said.
According to the article “9 Cool Things You Might Not Know About Sunflowers” on www.goodhousekeeping.com, there are about 70 species of sunflowers. They range from the mammoth sunflowers to some that just look like golden pom-poms.
In 2014, 1.7 million acres were planted in the United States, the USDA reports. The majority of those were found in North Dakota, according to the article.
The article also pointed out that sunflowers have been used to detoxify soil and absorb radiation.
“Millions were planted after the devastating tsunami destroyed reactors in the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan,” the post said.
Sunflowers are not only pretty, but pretty useful.
Meanwhile, the wild asters are out in full bloom and many traveling butterflies are taking advantage of their offerings.
(A Walk in the Woods contains photos from newsroom staffer Anna Applegate’s daily jaunts around her neck of the woods. Tagging along on the treks are dogs, Buford, Sherman and Sadie, and goats, Kyle and Kennedy. Applegate manages the Good Times and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)