Saturday, August 4, 2007

SUMMER SUNFLOWER

In almost every corner in residential areas of Manhattan, one can find a corner delicatessen (deli), usually Korean-owned, and open 24 hours. In addition to prepared food and grocery items, these stores sell beautiful flowers including the sunflower during the summer months. Above is an image of a bouquet of festive sunflowers, which I purchased from our local Korean corner deli on the Upper Eastside. The term "sunflower" refers to all plants of the genus Helianthus, many of which are perennials. The sunflower is an annual, erect, broadleaf plant with a strong taproot and prolific lateral spread of surface roots. Stems are usually round early in the season, angular and woody later in the season, and normally unbranched. Sunflower leaves are phototropic and will follow the sun's rays with a lag of 120 behind the sun's azimuth. This property has been shown to increase light interception and possibly photosynthesis. The sunflower head is not a single flower but is made up 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers joined at a common receptacle.

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