Sunflower

About

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is a species of the Asteraceae family and is native to North American. Sunflower is generally cultivated in temperate regions as a food crop for humans and livestock. Sunflower is classified as either an oil type or a confection (non-oil) type, each with its own distinct market. Sunflower hybrids vary in terms of yield potential, seed size, stalk height, standability, and disease resistance.

While commercial sunflowers are self-fertilizing, research studies have indicated that bee pollinators can help increase yields. The large flower head is called a composite flower, made up of two kinds of tiny florets. The disc florets are located at the center of the flower and the ray florets are located along the outer ring. The ray florets are sterile while the disc florets have both male and female parts. Each flower can produce up to two thousand disc florets with the potential to develop into seed. Certain sunflower varieties can have florets with tubes too deep for honey bees to forage for nectar, while bumble bees and other long-tongued bees can reach the flower nectar in the florets of these varieties, and can improve pollination.

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