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Sunflowers

Are you ready for yesterday's Mystery Monday reveal?

The mystery plants that are growing at the Chrisholm MetroPark Historic Farmstead are ... Sunflowers!

Grown most year's here on the farm, this sunflower field is a popular destination for photographers and nature lovers alike!  Not only do humans love the beautiful sunflowers, but many animals will utilize them as well.

 

 

Pollinators such as bees and butterflies enjoy the nectar from this flower, while animals like birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and even raccoons will eat the seeds when ripened.

Since birds can travel far and wide, their waste droppings can plant "volunteer" sunflowers in gardens and flower beds. Have you ever had a volunteer sunflower growing that you didn't plant? It was likely with the help of a bird!

Sunflowers are in the aster (or daisy) family, and are related to wildflowers such as Philadelphia Fleabane (which are blooming now) and the New England Aster (which will bloom in the fall).

 

 

Did you know that a sunflower plant can grow over 1,000 individual flowers? Take a close look at the center of the sunflowers in these pictures.  Each seed that will be produced in the fall comes from a single small flower growing in the center of the plant.  The large petals surrounding the outside are called "rays," and are not considered to be the true flower of the plant.

Do you plan to visit the sunflower field later this summer?  We'll be sure to share when the beautiful flowers start to bloom!