Sunday, September 6, 2015

Helianthus Annuus

As the full summer sun began its descent to fall, the towering sunflowers that grew from the sunflower seed I put out for the birds, gloried in the heat, soon to bow their swollen heads to the Earth.

The Common Sunflower has a long history of association with people.   Nearly 3,000 years ago it was domesticated for food production by the Native Americans.  It was only through careful selection for the largest size seeds over hundreds of years that the cultivated sunflower was produced. It was brought back to the Old World by the early European explorers and widely cultivated there also. 

Even with all its majestic grandeur, the Sunflower is not exempt from the law of gravity. As the disk florets ripen, Sunflower heads bulge with hundreds of seeds, and the top-heavy weight becomes too much for the stalk to bear. In a gesture of surrender, the Sunflower bends with its weight into the bosom of the Earth, bearing its prodigious gift of seeds for the future (and for our bird friends!).








Next time you munch down on some sunflower seeds, thank the many generations of Native Americans whose careful husbandry gave us this valuable food item.

4 comments:

  1. Awesome captures, Jim! And the first line of your blog works at many levels. Beautiful...sgi for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Karynlee, I appreciate you taking the time to visit and comment!

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  2. I like the images and the sentiment James. It's such a difficult subject with which to be creative.

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  3. Thanks Paul, You're right, it is a difficult subject, but one that is right outside my front door and I like the fact that they have a visual connectedness that points to the Gestalt of their being.

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