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EnvironMental 'HELIANTHUS'

'Helianthus' Sarah Mariam Koshy

If the name Helianthus Annuus took you aback, please don't be alarmed, let me assure you it, indeed, is our very own common sunflower. This uncommon name is its botanical name. Now that that has been addressed here are some things that I thought would be interesting to share about this heliotropic or phototropic — well, move towards light/sun — flowers.

This attention-grabbing flower, with its bright yellow petals and seeds arranged in a logarithmic spiral, plays a major role in sustaining the environment. Yes, and here's how:

Detox of contaminated soil and water
Sunflowers have the ability to detox heavy metals present in the soil or water by absorbing contaminants and poisonous chemicals through its roots. They leave the soil and/or waterbody much healthier and cleaner.

Attracts our buzzing friends — bees, butterflies and birds
Sunflowers contain thousands of individual florets that contain nectar and pollen and are a source of food for the bees, butterflies and birds.

Absorb radioactive material
Sunflowers can absorb radioactive material. Growing sunflowers in areas where radiation has been high helps free the area of these toxins.

Apart from the plant being a boon to the environment, the plant is a source of food for humans, too, in the form of sunflower seeds and sunflower oil. Sunflower seeds have high nutritional value and are rich in vitamin E, Magnesium, Protein and so on.

So, growing sunflowers in your surroundings would go a long way. Not only is it visually pleasing but it will keep your soil and air healthier, provide nutrition and keep our winged friends happy, too.


Image inspiration courtesy Grace Layne


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