Thursday, 1 September 2011
Field of Sunflowers growing in North Norfolk.
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas that possesses a large inflorescence (flowering head). The sunflower got its name from its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads of flowers. The heads consist of 1,000-2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base.
From the Americas, sunflower seeds were brought to Europe in the 16th century, where, along with sunflower oil, they became a widespread cooking ingredient. Sunflower leaves can be used as cattle feed, while the stems contain a fibre which may be used in paper production.