The subject of famous poetry and artwork, sunflowers are a beautiful and much adored plant. Their striking looks and vibrant colouring have made them a popular choice in gardens across the globe.
In this article we pay tribute to the sunflower by listing 5 facts you may not have already known.
1. Sow and grow
Sunflowers are easy plants to grow. Just pop a seed in the ground, water it, then a green sprout will appear in about 14 days. To boost their height, give them a liquid feed every 2-3 weeks.
2. Tasty leaves
Each sunflower leaf grows up the stem at about a 90° angle from the one below it. The leaves are actually edible and work well in salads and stir-fries or steamed with the tough centre vein cut out and removed.
3. High and mighty
According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest sunflower in the world was grown in Germany in 2012 and reached more than 8m high. The grower broke his own record for the tallest sunflower set in 2009.
4. Bonus blooms
One sunflower head consists of more than 1000 individual blooms called disc flowers, and what we think of as petals are called ray flowers. Wild plants have multiple heads while cultivated sunflowers have one.
5. Seed and feed
There are two types of commercial sunflower seeds. The small black seed used in bird feed is also processed into oil, while the second type is a larger non-oil seed with black and white stripes that is used in food.