Wednesday, August 4, 2010
One head, hundreds of flowers.
The other day I was trying to explain to someone that "a daisy" is actually dozens, if not hundreds of flowers, but I didn't have a hand lens with me so my story seemed like quite a stretch. This photo of a sunflower "head" taken in front of Quincy's Natural Foods Coop shows clearly that each seed in a sunflower develops from an individual flower. Each so-called petal is actually a ray flower and the ones that produce seeds are disk flowers. These kinds of flowers are called composites, and there are many variations. In some species the ray flowers do the work of reproduction. Others, like tansy, have lost the ray flowers over time and only the disk flowers remain.