Monday 8 July 2013

I love sunflowers. Over the past two weeks we have driven past field upon field of these beautiful brightly coloured flowers. In the northern parts of Turkey they were planted in very uniform rows, in Greece they seem to have been planted in a much more haphazard way! 

In Turkey they are called ‘ayçiçek’ which translates to ‘moonflower’. I'm not sure why that is.

The 'supermoon' whilst we were in Turkey - can't see the similarity!
Good old Wikipedia has loads of information on these seemingly very complex flowers.Did you know, for example, that it is a common misconception that a sunflower head tracks the sun? In reality the head is fixed and faces east.

They may be facing east - but it's the wrong way for my photo
As well as the more common uses, in oil and seed production, sunflowers have been used to extract toxins, such as lead, arsenic and uranium, from polluted soils after the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. Clever old sunflowers.

Sunflowers, I've also read, have a really complex spiral pattern with specific floret orientation and 'golden angles'. They even have their own mathematical formula which is  r =c√ n,  θ = n x 137.5 ◦ (where θ is the angle, r is the radius or distance from the centre, n is the index number of the floret and c is a constant scaling factor). Typically they will have 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in another although in large sunflowers this could be 89 and 144. Who knew and who is counting?
But where do you start counting from?
All I know is that I kept making poor Dave stop so I could get some really close up shots and I now have a collection of about 50 photos in their own little folder in Picasa.

I love poppies too and we saw lots growing wild around the ANZAC war cemeteries in Turkey.

Another favourite of mine is the tulip – so perhaps we’ll have to detour back through Amsterdam!  

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