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What is usually called the flower is actually a head (formally composite flower) of numerous flowers (florets) crowded together.
The outer flowers are the ray florets and can be yellow, maroon, orange, or other colors, and are sterile.
Members of this genus usually are tall, annual or perennial plants, growing to a height of 60-390 centimeters.
The rough and hairy stem is branched in the upper part. The lower leaves are opposite, ovate, or often heart-shaped. They bear several to many wide, terminal capitula (flower heads), with bright yellow ray florets at the outside and maroon disc florets inside.
These flower heads follow the direction of the sun, going from east to west during the day.
Helianthus annuus, the common sunflower, is an annual plant native to the Americas, with a large flowering head (inflorescence).
As the bud stage ends, the stem stiffens and the blooming stage is reached.
The portion of the plant remaining after the seeds have been processed for oil is used as a livestock feed.Typically, each floret is oriented toward the next by approximately the golden angle, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers.Typically, there are 34 spirals in 1 direction and 55 in the other; on a very large sunflower you may see 89 in one direction and 144 in the other. At sunrise, the faces of most sunflowers are turned towards the east.In commercial planting, seeds are planted 45 centimeters (1.5 feet) apart and 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) deep.Sunflower "whole seed" (fruit) are sold as a snack food after roasting within heated ovens, with or without salt added.