Six Reasons I’m Stoked About Sunflowers

  1. Young sunflowers are “smart” enough to turn towards the sun to maximize their growing potential. This enables them to create more mass –and generate more warmth – which in turn helps them attract more pollinators. You can read the details here or just skip ahead to this fun video created by Science magazine.
  2. Sunflowers hold the promise of providing us with biofuel, a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Maybe you’ve already heard about Volkswagen vans running on repurposed french fry oil? While repurposing cooking oil is in fact an excellent source of biofuel, you can also grow sunflowers expressly for the purpose of creating fuel, as is currently happening in Hawaii. And as an added bonus, you can visit their sunflower farm on your next trip to Maui!
  3. Sunflowers can help us mitigate the negative impact of some past technological “advances” which turned out to have less desirable side effects. Through the process of phytoremediation, sunflowers can help clean up toxic soils, and have even been employed to help address radiation leaks in Chernobyl and Fukushima.
  4. These awesome plants are actually native here in Montana, and you can see many species of the Aster/Sunflower family on your next summertime hike.
  5. Sunflower seeds develop in an alignment that is defined by the Fibonacci sequence, “one of the most famous formulas in mathematics.” I agree that it seems a little strange to see “math” and “famous” in the same sentence, but those who know math all seem to agree this concept is super cool! I’m personally still trying to figure this one out, but I did find this TEDx video with the express goal of bringing “the fun part of math into the layperson’s life.” Give it a view – do you think he succeeded?
  6. When I think of sunflowers, I think of the beautiful photo at the top of this post, that my friend Kerry took in California, with that fat buzzing bee in the middle. And when I think of bees, I think of this poem by Emily Dickinson, which reminds me how we can create an entire world out of mere thought and intention.    Here’s to our shared visions!

“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee –

And revery.

The revery along will do

If bees are few.”


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Seriously Interesting Sunflower Facts

I have a new blog post in the works detailing the reasons I’m so fond of sunflowers.

Come back soon to read more!

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