Zoology & Botany

Sunflower

Prepare a picture of/book about /a toy sunflower in advance, as well as a sample of sunflower seeds.

Say: Look at this flower. (Show a picture of a sunflower.) This is a sunflower.

Remember, to be classified as a plant, a living  thing should have multiple cells, grow in soil, have leaves and roots, produce seeds, and produce its own food through photosynthesis.

Sunflowers have a large flower head, usually with a large, almost black central part which is made up of thousands of tiny florets that later become seeds set in a spiral pattern. The petals are typically bright yellow, although some varieties are orange or red. Its stem is rough and hairy while the leaves large and rough with coarse jagged edges. Sunflowers typically grow to between one and a half and three and a half meters, with some giant variants reaching up to eight meters. The common Sunflower is a native of Mexico and Peru, Native Americans grew it for years as a source of food.

The Sunflower is valuable from an economic, as well as from an ornamental point of view. Every part of the plant may be utilized for some economic purpose. The leaves form a cattle-food and the stems contain a fiber which may be used successfully in making paper. The seed is rich in oil, which is said to approach more nearly to olive oil than any other vegetable oil known and to be largely used as a substitute. Sunflower seeds can be eaten raw, cooked, roasted, or dried and ground for use in bread or cakes, as a snack. The seeds and the roasted seed shells have been used as a coffee substitute.

Yellow dyes have been made from the flowers, and black dyes from the seeds.

Sunflower seeds should be sown in fertile, moist, well-drained soil that contains heavy mulch. They need full sun to grow properly and develop best in summer. They thrive when grown in large clusters, as they shade the ground and keep the deep roots cool and the ground damp for longer. These groups afford protection from the wind and can help support each other.

Sunflowers use a cross-pollination method of reproduction by attracting animals and insects such as bees and using them to spread reproductive pollen from one flower to another. Sunflowers can self-reproduce, but by doing this, they don't have the diverse offspring that are better suited to their environment.

Like all plants, Sunflowers are self-sufficient. They make their own food through the process of photosynthesis using light energy to make sugars from carbon dioxide and water. During the process of photosynthesis, plants release oxygen (into the air) that we and all animals need to survive. We need to take care of Strawberries and treat them with respect because they are living things just like us, people and have an important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

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