August 20, 2018

One Flower, Five Ways

I absolutely love growing plants in my courtyard. It's to the extent that I can barely walk around the area. There are vines sprawling all over the yard right now. One of my favorite plants from this growing season was my mammoth sunflowers. Some of these things grew up to 14 feet tall or so, well above the eaves of my roof! The best part, of course, were the flower heads that were more than a foot across.

Macro of sunflower disk florets atop matured seeds

Each sunflower disk is comprised of hundreds and hundreds of tiny flowers, also called florets. The collection of which make up what we consider to be a single flower. In the image above you can see dozens of disk florets, these are the flowers that become pollinated and produce seeds.

Macro of dried sunflower ray florets

The second type of floret in a sunflower disk are all along the edge, they're called  ray florets. Each ray floret has a single yellow petal. Ray florets are what give the sunflower their distinct appearance.

Close up image of the seeds in a sunflower disk

Plants have a tendency to follow a few specific rules that dictate how they grow. One of those rules is presented as a golden spiral. Seeds of a sunflower disk appear to spiral from the outside of the disk towards its center. The spiral swirls both clock-wise and counter clock-wise.

Golden Spiral in a sunflower disk
‍Golden Spiral in a sunflower disk
- Jayme
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