When given sunflower seeds to sow, a photographer must sow said seeds, then reap the image harvest! I was given a sandwich bag full of what looked like old dried hay and debris. Well, it turns out this bag actually contained the beginnings of a beautiful sunflower patch. I kicked up an inch or so of dirt at the perimeters of my garden and tossed a few handfuls of the seeds in place, kicking the soil back over them. I added a little water for good measure, and walked away, imagining nothing would come of such decrepit little bits. I was absolutely wrong!
Growing Sunflowers - Beautiful Timelapse Video
A Sunflower Garden Surprise
Several weeks after haphazardly planting my sunflower seeds, I had the joy of finding tall elegant stems of green leafy buds and bright yellow sunflowers trimming my backyard summer vegetable garden! The photo-op was irresistible! This article and the photos within it, are the visual harvest I took away from the experience of growing my own sunflowers. In the process, I learned about sunflower origins and even that sunflowers have their own math. Every photo in the article is shot on my little patch of sunshine, and the text will fill you in on what I happily discovered about these divinely sunny flowers. I hope you enjoy.
Picture Of A Sunflower
What Is A Sunflower
The Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
The sunflower is a flowering plant that is native to the southeastern United States, originating approximately 5000 years ago. It springs up from the soil to grow quite tall—5 to 12 ft (1.5 to 3.5 m)—and undeniably elegant. Each stem flashes its own bright yellow inflorescence. This large flowering head has become a favorite of onlookers and artist alike. Along with its good looks, this flower offers a wonderful plethora of seeds—each individual flower can provide hundreds of seeds—which make a tasty snack food! The sunflower's vibrant presence first landed in Europe in the 16th century. This was where more than just its "sun-like" beauty was put to good use. The discovery of four main applications of the sunflower brought new inspiration to those growing the beautifully blazing-yellow blooms. The seeds, oil, leaves, and stalks provide many useful uses throughout the world.
Main Products Derived From Sunflowers
4 Uses For The Sunflower
- The heads of each flower will produce more than one hundred seeds that can then be harvested, dried or cooked and utilized as a nutritional food source.
- Sunflower oil is extracted from the plant and used in many culinary applications.
- The leaves of the sunflower can be added to cattle food, which in turn, boosts the quality of the feed.
- Last, but not least, we come to the stems of the flowers. These tall slender stalks contain a hardy fiber that can be used in the manufacturing of paper products.
When Is A Seed A Flower
The Sunflower Head
That big beautiful mature flower at the top of each sunflower stem is, in reality, a composite flower—or more familiarly known as the "flower head." This flower head consists of many smaller flowers that are all bunched together tightly. The outside florets that create the petals are sterile florets, ranging in color from yellow to red and beyond. At the very center of the head you will find little disc-florets. When these grow to maturity, they are the fertile seeds by which the plant propagates.
Fibonacci Numbers Sunflower Pattern
The Arithmetic Of Flowers: Fibonacci Numbers
Mother nature is a brilliant old gal. She has designed the fertile section of the flower head so that the most number of seeds (florets) can be packed into the circular space. When you look at the center cluster of a sunflower, it is apparent that the pattern spirals in its formation. But, the math of this spectacular design proves nature's understanding of mathematics is even more amazing.
Formula For The Sunflower Cluster Spiral Pattern
For the most part, the florets inside the cluster (seed area) of a sunflower grow in tandem with one another at a 137.5° angle, which creates the interconnected spiral formations visible within the center of each plant head. Within this pattern, the number of left and right spirals are sequential recurring numbers, which are specific numbers—Fibonacci numbers. As a general rule, we find 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other. Bigger flowers can have 89 in one direction and 144 in the other.
Why Are Sunflower Spirals Important
This pattern of spirals, packed together in such an obscure manner, makes for the greatest number of seeds to be configured within each flower's head. This mathematically assures a prolific future for the sunflower species. After all, the more seeds a flower produces, the more likely it is that a number of them will grow to maturity, thus, seeding new generations.
Sunflowers In The Garden
SUNFLOWER Scientific Classification
|Binomial name||Helianthus Annuus|
What You Think Really Does Matter!
What Does The Sunflower Symbolize
Grown for their mesmerizing beauty, as well as for practical applications—food, oil, and paper products—may be why we find the sunflower to hold such great symbolism since their discovery. The number of meanings for this joyful flower are many, however; below you will find just a few.
Meanings Of The Sunflower
- state flower of Kansas
- third wedding anniversary
Whether you adore this bright lovely flower for its symbolism or practicality, you must admit; the sunflower is one pretty amazing plant!
Comments for "Pictures Of Sunflowers, Buds To Blooms"
Jelena from Florida on June 21, 2015:
I absolutely love sunflowers they are one of my favorite flowers. Really good hub.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 13, 2015:
I loved sunflowers. This was a beautiful hub. When in season, I buy them fresh at the farmer's market. I also have artificial sunflowers to decorate my home. It's my favorite flower. I didn't know about its many culinary and non-culinary uses, other than for sunflower seeds. Congrats on the editor's choice, too! Voted up, up and up!
Jared from Dallas on June 02, 2014:
Great article. I bought some seeds this year of an incredibly huge sunflower. Its supposed to grow over 18 inches across. I believe it was called Mongolian Giant. Not positive if that is the correct name.
Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on September 09, 2013:
I love sunflowers. I just planted a couple of seeds recently, and I'm amazed at how fast they are growing, and how they stretch toward the sun.
Thanks for sharing the photos, and this useful information with us.
Have a great day!
Tony Mead from Yorkshire on August 16, 2013:
I love sunflowers and usually grow a few each summer; their happy nodding heads and faces seem to welcome you into the garden. I call them my children and always good morning children to them as I make sure that the slugs have not managed to attack them.
Nice hub voted up.
Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on December 23, 2012:
My favorite flower. I live in a cottage and plant sunflowers each year in our garden. They mean joy to me. I voted up!
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on December 22, 2012:
You photos are beautiful! I love sunflowers! Looking at sunflowers, just always makes me smile, as has your hub! I also learned quite a bit from your article here. Now you make me long for spring, so I can plant more sunflowers. I thing I will plant some around the edge of my vegetable garden this year! Again, your pictures are beautiful! Voting this up +++ and sharing! Have a beautiful day! :)
Chantele Cross-Jones from Cardiff on October 19, 2012:
I love sunflowers! they are just so happy and cheery. Sunflowers and Daisies are my fav flowers of all!
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on October 01, 2012:
@brittanytodd~ I am glad you learned a couple of things about these beautiful sunflowers! They are a fabulous plant in many ways. Thank you commenting!
@Happyboomernurse~ Thank you so much for returning to pin! That just makes it all the more special!
Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on October 01, 2012:
Returned to pin this on my "Stunning Flower Photos" board.
Brittany Kennedy from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on September 30, 2012:
What an equally beautiful and informational article! Sunflowers are so interesting. I didn't know a lot of the things you wrote in this article. Great work as always, K9! Keep it up.
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on September 27, 2012:
@Teresa Coppens~ I agree with you, I would take a dozen sunflowers over roses every time! I am thrilled that you enjoyed the pictures, they did bring a bright yellow smile to my face when snapping the shots. I appreciate that you shared your thoughts here!
Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2012:
K9 sunflowers are my absolute favourite. I would gladly accept a bunch over roses any day. What a beautiful yet informative hub. Thanks for making my day with your stunning photographs!
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on September 25, 2012:
@Mary615~ Thank you for such kind remarks regarding the hub. I found much more than yellow flowers by growing sunflowers! Always lovely to find you in the comments.
HubHugs to you, and of course Baby!
@chatkath~ What a special gift to find your wonderful thoughts among the comments here. Such a peaceful memory of your Mother and sunflowers you share; thank you. Wishing you a kind fulfilling day.
@cclitgirl~ Awesome to find your comments here! I have missed seeing you around...as I greatly enjoyed your support and teamwork during the Apprentice program! Thank you for your fine remarks on this hub! And the shares when the cyber world allows it! ;)
@joanveronica~ Thank you for your kind response to the hub. I think you made my day! I sure appreciate the sharing, nothing like good old fashioned hublove!
@rcrumple~ I was fascinated by the time lapse video as well, I was lucky to find such a cool visual event! Thank you for commenting!
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on September 25, 2012:
@Happyboomernurse~ So cool to find you here today! I learned so much about sunflowers doing this hub, and found every bit of it a joy to soak in. Thank you for making it by and for the hublove!
Big HubHugs, my friend~
@ carol777~ Thanks you for the up votes! Glad you enjoyed the images.
@Daisy Mariposa~ Wow! I am honored by your enthusiasm regarding the hub! I hope it brings you a ton of bright-yellow happiness!
@catsimmons~ I am amazed by the fractal pattern of the sunflower myself, and being able to watch it fill-in on the time-lapse video was fascinating, to say the least! Thanks for stopping b and commenting.
Rich from Kentucky on September 24, 2012:
Great article all the way around. The time lapse sequence was tremendous as the music accented the process impeccably. Great job! Absolutely beautiful!
Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on September 24, 2012:
Beautiful! The pictures, the information and the organization of this Hub, all wonderful! Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting, also shared all over. Have a good day and please write more lovely Hubs!
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on September 24, 2012:
Okay, so my internet isn't working that well...I will come back to tweet and pin. :) I hope you have a great evening, K9. Hubhugs!
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on September 24, 2012:
You are becoming quite the photographer. Taking original photos and making them beautiful for HubPages will do that to you, LOL. I didn't know there were native to the southeast. Very cool! Unfortunately, I haven't had this success with the sunflowers, even though I am in the southeast: we have too much shade, as we border a forest, hehe. Oh well. I get to enjoy your beautiful photos and live vicariously through them. :D Beautiful! Voted/tweeted/pinned.
Kathy from California on September 24, 2012:
Another wealth of information k9, I love sunflowers - my Mother used to stop on the side of a country road and pick them then we planted seeds in the backyard and watched them become huge happy sunny blooms, not to mention all the uses that you have told us about here! Bravo. Rated up and useful - Pinned & tweeted! Thanks for sharing.
Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 24, 2012:
I love Sunflowers! You did a fine job with this Hub. I loved your photography, and I learned a lot more than I knew about these beautiful flowers.
I voted this UP, etc, will share, Pin and Tweet.
Catherine Simmons from Mission BC Canada on September 24, 2012:
I totally love this hub! Especially the time lapse photography...
Watching the fractal pattern emerge was awesome. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful photography!
Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on September 24, 2012:
You have outdone yourself with this article! It's well-researched, well-written, well-formatted, and well-illustrated. Your photographs are gorgeous!
I'm sharing this in as many places as I can.
Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 24, 2012:
Wow! Thanks for this spectacular hub about sunflowers. The video was mesmerizing, as were all of the photos you took of your very own sunflower garden.
I also enjoyed the uses and facts that you included and was fascinated by the math calculations of the seeds.
Voted up across the board except for funny and shared.
carol stanley from Arizona on September 24, 2012:
A picture is worth a thousand words. Photos are lovely and thanks for taking time to bring all this beauty.. Voted UP.