Sunflowers vs. Black-Eyed-Susans

At several places during this trip I have seen huge fields of sunflowers.  Not the big, showerhead flowers that yield sunflower seeds, but smaller, wild flowers which are native to the area.  There is an ongoing debate whether or not what I saw were, in fact, sunflowers or black-eyed-susans, which are similar in appearance.  I saw large quantities of those when I entered Texas from the east back in May.

When I stayed in Joseph, Utah about a week ago I asked my hostess Janett (pronounced ja-NET) what the difference was.  She should know, as she operates a nursery next to her home specializing in native plants (for landscapers and homeowners).  Her immediate response was “Well, they’re both DYC’s”….  That is plant-person-speak for Damn Yellow Composites.  Janett confirmed what I thought I already knew – that the smaller, light yellow petals are typical of native sunflowers, whereas the longer, darker yellow petals are more common among black-eyed-susans.

SUNFLOWERS (taken by me, today, up near Eagle Mountain, UT):

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BLACK-EYED-SUSANS (images found online):

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(Photo credit: egofelix.com)

black-eyed-susan_flower brandeis

(Photo credit: bio.brandeis.edu)

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As I was driving on a scenic road over in western Colorado a few days ago (the Mesa loop, near Grand Junction) I saw a house with a garden containing many other types of sunflowers, including the large ones seeds are harvested from.

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