Sunday, July 17, 2011

What's wrong with this picture?

On Friday we drove down to a nearby town called Le Grand Pressigny to have lunch with some friends at their holiday home. It was a terrific day with yummy food and wine and all the things that make lunch with friends fun. After the meal, we took a nice rambling walk around the town's château, then down through the main square and along the river for a while.

A field of sunflowers near the Château du Grand Pressigny.

On the last leg of the walk we passed a field of sunflowers. The sun was in the wrong place for good pictures, but I took a bunch anyway. Then it occurred to me, the sunflowers have their backs to the sun! Aren't they supposed to face the sun?

In French, sunflowers are called tournesols, precisely because they turn (tourner) toward the sun (le soleil). This batch obviously didn't get the memo.

UPDATE: Actually, it was me who didn't get the memo. After some comments and a little research, I found out that sunflowers stop turning with the sun as they mature. And when they stop, they face east, with their backs to the afternoon sun, just like in this picture.

17 comments:

  1. We have lived in France for 14 years and this year the sunflowers are very disappointing. I have never seen them so small. Either the farmers have decided to change their seeds or the lack of rain has caused the smallness
    Sue

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  2. There's nothing wrong with the picture. Sunflowers do turn along with the sun, but not towards it but away from it. Strange, isn't it? Is it to protect the seeds form the heat or the light?

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  3. Wikipedia says: "A common misconception is that sunflowers track the sun. In fact, mature flowerheads typically face east and do not move. The leaves and buds of young sunflowers do exhibit heliotropism (sun turning). Their orientation changes from east to west during the course of a day." I imagine having east-facing flowers is an adaptation that accomplishes that same goal of protecting the flowers and seeds from the hot afternoon sun.

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  4. Wow, most interesting! I didn't know that!! Beautiful picture, by the way.

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  5. So grateful for the info on east-facing flowers. I was confused as well and had no idea they stopped following the sun as they matured. Also grateful for the beautiful photo; impossible to get when going 200 kmh on the train to Sevilla!

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  6. What's wrong with the picture is that I wasn't there to see those beautiful sunflowers in person! :(

    Thanks for the beautiful photo, Walt.

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  7. Beautiful and I really like the airliner and the moon one too. Bon dimanche, or what is left of it for you!

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  8. I love sunflowers. Great pic.

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  9. I don't see anything wrong with this photo, it's beautiful. However I did find Waldo.

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  10. That is a great picture. And I learned something new by reading your post. Thanks!!

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  11. Bonjour! Thank you for this beautiful picture. I was born in Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, and my family still lives nearby, in a small town named L'Isle Jourdain, in the neighboring "departement", le Gers. SouthWestern France is a top producer of sunflower oil, and I remember looking at the gorgeous fields as a child as we drove through the area. I always thought "Tournesol" was one of the prettiest words in the French language. Thank you for the memories. Veronique aka French Girl in Seattle

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  12. Those flowers are very inconsiderate. I mean, the sun gave them life. How dare they turn their back on it. m.

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  13. I didn't know that . . . I've learned something new today. Thanks for the pic and the post!

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  14. I have learned a new fact today. Thanks Walt!

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  15. Loved the tournesols, and after reading yr post had to go out and check ours. The tallest ones face east and the smaller one on the other side of the garden faces west - just like you said. Thank you for enlightening me.

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