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The name sunflower typically refers to the popular annual species called Helianthus annuus or the common sunflower. This type of sunflower has round flower heads that look like the sun. The flower head is made up of hundreds or thousands of tiny flowers called florets. Each floret is oriented toward the next, producing a pattern of an interconnecting spiral. It takes as many as 2,000 florets to make a classic sunflower bloom. The outer petal-bearing florets (which are called the sterile florets) can be yellow, red, orange, or other colors. The disc florets, which are florets inside the circular head, is where the seeds develop. Disc florets have both male and female sex organs, and each produces a seed. They can self-pollinate or take pollen blown by the wind or transported by insects, such as bees.
Sunflowers do not only look like the sun, but they also need a lot of it. Being heliotropic, sunflowers direct their growth in response to sunlight. They grow best in locations with direct sunlight for 6 to 8 hours per day. During growth, sunflowers tilt during the day to face the sun but stop once they begin blooming. By the time they are mature, sunflowers generally face east.
Sunflowers are heat-tolerant, resistant to pests, and obviously very beautiful. They stand as a symbol of faith, loyalty, and adoration. And although natives of North America, they are grown in many sunny areas around the world.