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"And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.   And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31)

Wild Flowers of Sleepy Hollow Lake
- Sunflower, Wild (Helianthus spp.) -
(To enlarge the photos, click on the photos or links)

(Sunflower, Wild - 01)  There are about 60 species of wild sunflowers in the United States, 40 of which are located east of the Rocky mountains, with most of them being concentrated in the Plains States.  One of our references correctly stated that the various species are difficult to distinguish, and we have found that to be true.  Therefore, we have listed this wild sunflower without a specific species.  In searching the Internet, we found several species that seemed to match; and different "experts" seemed to give different species names to what appeared to be the same species.


(Sunflower, Wild - 02)  This wild sunflower had only one composite flower, but it's an excellent example to show the leaves, which grow alternately from the stem.





(Sunflower, Wild - 02a)  This photo gives us a closer look at the wild sunflower's broad lanceolate leaves with toothed edges.




(Sunflower, Wild - 02b)  Wild sunflowers have between 10 and 25 ray flowers.  This particular species seems to be on the lower end, having 12 ray flowers.  This photo also provides another close-up of the leaves.







(Sunflower, Wild - 03)  This is another view of the wild sunflower blooms and leaves.  Most wild sunflowers grow to heights of 2 to 6 feet.





(Sunflower, Wild - 03a)  In this photo of the wild sunflower, the sunlight and contrasting shadows allow us to see the fine hairs that grow along the edge of the leaves and on the stems.




(Sunflower, Wild - 04)  This stately, six feet tall wild sunflower grew between the road and the woods near our home.






(Sunflower, Wild - 05)  This is another patch of wild sunflowers that was growing along the side of the road.  The ones in the background are still upright, but the ones in the foreground have fallen over.




(Sunflower, Wild - 06)  This is a closer look at the wild sunflower bloom.





(Sunflower, Wild - 07)  In this photo we can get a closer look at the central flowers of the wild sunflower.  Composite flowers are not single flowers, but a composite or grouping of many flowers to make what would appear to be a single larger flower.  The structures that look like petals are really ray flowers, and if we look closely, we can see the individual central flowers.









(Sunflower, Wild - 08)  In this bee's eye view of the central flowers of the wild sunflower, the individual flower structures are easier to see.





(Sunflower, Wild - 09)  This is an even closer bee's eye view of the central flowers of the wild sunflower.  Several of the unopened flower buds can also be seen.





(Sunflower, Wild - 09a)  This is another bee's eye view of some of the central flowers of the wild sunflower.





(Sunflower, Wild - 10)  More wild sunflowers!






(Sunflower, Wild - 10a)  This is a closer look at one of the clusters of wild sunflowers.  We found it interesting that the bloom on the right had only nine ray flowers.




(Sunflower, Wild - 10b)  This is another cluster of the wild sunflower blooms.  These also have fewer than 10 ray flowers, which the literature stated was the minimum number.  Going from upper left to lower right, the first two have 9 ray flowers each, the next three have only 8 ray flowers each.




(Sunflower, Wild - 10c)  This is another cluster of wild sunflowers.  The top left bloom has 12 ray flowers, while the one below it has only 9 ray flowers, and the bottom one has 10 ray flowers, as does the bloom on the right.  Also of interest are the bloom going to seed and the bud.




(Sunflower, Wild - 11)  This is a close-up view of a wild sunflower bud.  Note that the sepals are smooth with hairy edges.







(Sunflower, Wild - 12)  This is a side view of the bloom of the wild sunflower.





(Sunflower, Wild - 13)  In this close-up side view of the wild sunflower, we can see the details of the bract and the profile of the ray and disc flowers.












(Sunflower, Wild - 14)  We found this wild sunflower plant growing near the side of the road in a patch of goldenrod.






(Sunflower, Wild - 15)  This is another patch of wild sunflowers.  If we look closely at this photo, or at the next couple of photos, we can see that the "Sunflower Restaurant" has begun to serve lunch.




(Sunflower, Wild - 15a)  The insect that has come to lunch upon this wild sunflower appears to be a Japanese beetle.  Unlike the bees, wasps, and butterflies who come to dine upon the nectar and pollen that is served, the Japanese beetle eats the "restaurant."




(Sunflower, Wild - 15b)  This bee has come to dine upon the wild sunflower's gourmet offerings of nectar and pollen, and before leaving, she always leaves a generous "tip" of pollination.







(Sunflower, Wild - 15c)   The fact that most of these disc flowers have bloomed shows that this is a more mature wild sunflower bloom.







(Sunflower, Wild - 15d)  In contrast to the previous photo, this wild sunflower's disc flowers are just beginning to bloom.






(Sunflower, Wild - 16)  This is another patch of wild sunflowers that we encountered just off the side of the road.





(Sunflower, Wild - 17)  This is another wild sunflower plant.  Note that the right bloom appears to have 13 ray flowers.  Thus far, we have seen this species of wild sunflower with from 8 to 13 ray flowers.





(Sunflower, Wild - 18)  This is another cluster of wild sunflowers, two of which have 12 ray flowers.





(Sunflower, Wild - 19)  This is one of the wild sunflowers with only eight ray flowers.  The actual size of this bloom is about two inches in diameter.  One reference indicated that the wild sunflower was considered sacred, as it was an earthly symbol of the sun.





(Sunflower, Wild - 20)  This is another bee's eye view of the disc flowers of the wild sunflower.






(Sunflower, Wild - 20a)  This is a closer view of some of the disc flowers of the wild sunflower.





(Sunflower, Wild - 20b)  This is another close-up view of the disc flowers of the wild sunflower.





(Sunflower, Wild - 21)  This insect has come to investigate the opening of the first disc flowers of this wild sunflower.






(Sunflower, Wild - 22)  This little wasp has come to dine upon the "goodies" being served from these wild sunflower disc flowers.







(Sunflower, Wild - 23)  This photo presents a comparison between newly opening and fully open wild sunflowers.





(Sunflower, Wild - 23a)  This is a side view of one of the newly opening wild sunflowers.





(Sunflower, Wild - 24)  This is another patch of wild sunflowers, many of which are just beginning to open.





(Sunflower, Wild - 24a)  We noticed a considerable difference between the way the sepals have almost completely opened on this wild sunflower, and the partial opening of those we encountered with other wild sunflowers.  See photos 11 and 12 for comparison.





| Wild Flowers of SHL: Photo Identification, Common Name, Scientific Name | Art and Photos |

Presented here are just a few of the countless components of God's creation.  Just as we cannot have human and animal life without water and plants, neither can we have lasting peace without love and compassion.  It is our hope and prayer that this series will motivate people to live and act in a cruelty-free manner; that we would no longer hurt or destroy each other, the animals or our environment.

If  you would like to contribute a photo to these series, please contact;
Frank L. Hoffman

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2002-2003 - The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation.  All rights reserved.  May be copied only for personal use or by not for profit organizations to promote compassionate and responsible living.  All copied and reprinted material must contain proper credits and web site link .

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