Sunflowers: Staring Me Right in the Face

It’s awfully frustrating when I fail to solve a puzzle – especially when all the information I need is right in front of me.  As an ecologist, I’m supposed to be good at this sort of thing.  Ecologists, after all, study the interactions between plants, animals, and their environments.  Why it’s taken me so long to figure out why annual sunflowers are so abundant in some places/years and not in others is beyond me.

But I think I’ve got it now.

Annual sunflower, aka garden sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is a very large plant with conspicuous blooms. While they’re considered to be weeds by most farmers, they are native wildflowers and important food sources for insect and wildlife species.

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