The sun flower: A dazzling flower that adorns Corfu 

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A jewel found in Corfiot gardens is the stunning Helianthus Annuus, our familiar sunflower.  

 

It is an angiosperm dicot plant which belongs to the genus Helianthus and consists of 65 to 100 species originating in Central America. The plant is tall with large almond-shaped leaves. It is an annual plant with a branched stem and many small flowering heads. Every flowering head (inflorescence) consists of many smaller flowers.  

 

What makes the Sunflower truly unique is the rotation of the inflorescence towards the sun during the day! 

At night, it turns towards the East to start a new rotation in the morning. However, this rotation which is due to the bending of the bud (flexion) does not occur during all the stages of the sunflower's life but stops after pollination and then the head remains directed towards the East. This phenomenon is called heliotropism.  

 

 

 

 

This plant, apart from its beauty is also highly nutritional thanks to the oil extracted from its seeds.  

 

A myth always accompanies anything that makes an impression on humans and it comes as no surprise that the sunflower has its own myth in Mexico: “Once upon a time, a beautiful native woman was in love with the Sun. Every day, from the moment it rose until the moment it set, she stood and gazed at the sun, whispering words of love. “Oh Sun, please come closer to me! Let me bathe in your light!’ But the sun continued its celestial trip. Nevertheless, the woman never relented so the Sun surrendered to the power of her love and said "But you can't withstand me. if I come closer, l will burn you!" She said "I don't mind! I love you so much that I would give my life for a moment with you!"  

Thus, the Sun came down from the sky and kissed her. She instantly turned to ashes. The sun went back to the sky and continued its eternal journey, whereas the ashes gave birth to a flower, the sunflower, which has since always looked to the sun.”  

 

 

 www.mykerkyra.com

 

Helena Papadopoulou  

Graduand Biologist Biotechnalagist  

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